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DIY satellites
by IKE 04-Sep-2010 17:24

If you always wanted to launch your own satellite you should definitely follow the work of Song Ho Jun. He is a multi-talented artist and engineer that formed the 'Open Source Satellite Initiative' which is a collaborative and open effort to make a fully customizable and affordable satellite. This is equally an engineering and an artistic endeavor, reflecting both sides of Song Ho Jun's work.---

The prototype satellite is using a custom-made aluminum case, a small advanced solar cell panel and a Li-ion battery. The core of the satellite (named GOD for global orbiting device) is a slightly modified Arduino microcontroller. On the outside it has very powerful LED lights that blink in Morse code in order to track the satellite from earth. Being an open source project the potential for customization is infinite. For the time being only a stylish brief guide is available featuring the hand made sketches you can see above. Song Ho Jun is also participating in a very economical launch initiative called Novanano but very few information is available for the project.

The value of this project is mostly in the idea that such a thing is possible. Satellites used to be hugely expensive military, government or commercial projects and OSSI is a way to bring the technology to anyone or even to show that anyone with the will and easily accessible resources can build (and soon launch) his own operational micro satellite.

The missing link between a commercial multi-million dollar satellite and the ~500$ G.O.D. is the CubeSat modular kit from Pumpkin Inc. pictured above. This is a class above OSSI in cost and performance but it is affordable enough. A family of modules and components are available and one can build the basic satellite structure that fits his payload and mission. Many universities have already launch CubeSat based satellites into space.

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