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Orbit Your Own Satellite For $8,000

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the be-the-first-on-your-block dept.

Space 208

RobGoldsmith sends word of Interorbital's TubeSat Personal Satellite Kit, which allows anyone to send a half-pound payload to low-earth orbit for $8,000. Your satellite will fly to orbit from Tonga atop an Interorbital Systems NEPTUNE 30 rocket along with 31 other TubeSats. It will function for several weeks, then its orbit will decay and it will burn up in the atmosphere. Interorbital plans to send up a load of 32 TubeSats every month. If you pay in full in advance, you get slotted onto a particular scheduled launch. Here are Interorbital's product page and brochure (PDF).

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208 comments

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First... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28918683)

...pooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooost from orbit (so long as it does not exceed half a pound).

Weeks? (1)

Entropy98 (1340659) | more than 4 years ago | (#28918699)

How much for years?
 

Re:Weeks? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#28918879)

You mean, how is a half-pound thingy going to last in low orbit? The same way as a half-ton thingy, perhaps - using thrusters?

Pizza's and beers (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#28918929)

It doesn't need to last. Personally I will just use this to send myself pizza's and beers in here. And some WoW subscription cards, please.

Re:Weeks? (1)

Entropy98 (1340659) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919035)

Or it could, you know, start off higher.

Re:Weeks? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28919257)

Wouldn't the extra distance hurt the resolution of the observations it makes, or the strength of the radio signals it emits?

Re:Weeks? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919589)

Somewhat, but that's a problem for the customer to deal with.

Re:Weeks? (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919895)

Here's how much it would cost to send CmdrTaco to orbit earth:

1 pound = 0.45359237 kilograms
0.45359237 / 2 = 0.22679685
90kg / 0.22679685 = 396.830908
396.830908 * $8000 = 3174647.26

Result is $3 174 647

Anyone know if they allow that as a whole package or if you need it as 227g chunks? That might cause problems. :)

Re:Weeks? (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919309)

One reason it's cheap is that it's not very high. Just launch a new one each month - this price is remarkably low, if real.

Re:Weeks? (1)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919695)

Could you build a satellite with very small ion thrusters that would allow it to climb up and perhaps eventually even exit from the orbit? I know ESA used this with Smart 1 to get it to the Moon.

Re:Weeks? (3, Informative)

caerwyn (38056) | more than 4 years ago | (#28920039)

Doubtful in that mass budget. You couldn't just stick a thruster on it- you'd need a full attitude control system to make sure you were actually pointed in the right direction, and thruster(s), reaction wheels, etc would pretty rapidly use up all your mass.

Re:Weeks? (2, Insightful)

caerwyn (38056) | more than 4 years ago | (#28920211)

Actually, I was really far to tentative with that response. I think the real answer is "no way in hell." Just too much energy that you'd need to store in that half pound somehow.

I forsee (4, Interesting)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#28918709)

A big new trend for "burials in space".

Re:I forsee (4, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#28918803)

its orbit will decay and it will burn up in the atmosphere

That's just a ridiculously elaborate cremation.

Re:I forsee (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919009)

Hey, at $3,200,000, 400 payloads is a steal.

Re:I forsee (4, Funny)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919999)

fine, then you get to chop up the body into half-pound chunks.

Re:I forsee (1)

Ambvai (1106941) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919279)

Lessie... at 150lb, that means I'd cost ~2,400,000USD to cremate in such a fashion. A quick Google search indicates that a funeral would cost ~5,000USD and cremation, ~1,000USD. Or, you could just send up a few choice bits ("He's watching us from above..." or a testicle or two [I'll leave a line to your imagination...]) and have it at that.

Re:I forsee (1)

Razalhague (1497249) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919319)

or a testicle or two [I'll leave a line to your imagination...]

Spaceballs [wikipedia.org] !

Re:I forsee (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28919551)

Panspermia

Re:I forsee (1)

miggyb (1537903) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919399)

Most of the old people I know weigh considerably less than 150lbs. Plus, don't they drain all your fluids after you die, but before you get cremated? or is that only for burials?

Cheaper "Memorable" Options (4, Interesting)

Narnie (1349029) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919797)

Hmm... I think there's some cheaper "memorable" options out there.

Option 1 (Daddy is Forever)
~1000USD to be cremated and then ~8,000USD** to be pressed into a half-carat loose diamond.

Option 2 (Daddy was an Astronaut-Burnt-Up-on-Reentry)
~1000USD to be cremated and then ~8000USD to be shot into space.

**ashes to diamonds [funeral-urn.com]

Re:Cheaper "Memorable" Options (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#28920033)

I could see some "pimpin" dude have his diamond shot into space w/ cocaine and weed making up the leftover weight.
It could happen.
*cue "Shaft" theme*

Re:I forsee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28919795)

If you want to fit on one payload you would already have to have been cremated. So I would call it an elaborate way of spreading the ashes.

Re:I forsee (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28918807)

Hey, the average cost of a funeral is 10,000 so...its 2000 profit to the survivors. And the grand kids will think its great fun to watch Grandma finally return to where everyone knew she came from

Re:I forsee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28918941)

I take it grandma was a midget who died of SEVERE malnutrition? Either that or you'll first have to buy her a cremation for those $2000.

Re:I forsee (1)

aywwts4 (610966) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919069)

Also, how do you decide Which half pound of grandma to hack off and put in a tube? And who gets that fine job.

Re:I forsee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28919343)

dibs

Burials schmurials... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#28918977)

Try to imagine what this means for the Smurf population.

They don't call this planet the "Blue Marble" for nothing, you know.

Re:Burials schmurials... (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919555)

Try to imagine what this means for the Smurf population.

Sorry, but I have not been quite that high in years......

Re:I forsee (1)

Angeliqe (1390757) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919349)

Not really burials in space, but a nice way to scatter (burn / dispose of) ashes. It's not too expensive for the middle class to do once for a funeral. I know a lot of video gamers, star trek/wars fans, ect that would request it if they knew about it. I even think it's a better idea than the person who wanted their ashes scattered about the haunted mansion in Disney World.

FUCK FIREFOX! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28918723)

Re:FUCK FIREFOX! (0, Offtopic)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919371)

Not only a troll, but an especially LAME troll.

I loaded the page in firefox, just to be told that FF required 400MB of memory in order to render the page. I checked. FF was using 179 MB of memory, with three windows open, and a total of 11 tabs.

Out of curiosity, I loaded the page in IE8. 176 MB of memory, with only that one page open. Google Chrome? 53 MB. Safari isn't installed on this virtual machine, I'll probably test it later.

I'm not a mathematical genius, but the troll's claims don't seem to add up.

Pirates in Space! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28918729)

Low earth orbit is above the law, literally, isn't it? Send up a few gigabytes of flash memory and a transmitter. Torrents from space!

Re:Pirates in Space! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28919229)

Wouldn't work that well unless it's in geostationary orbit. The problem being that the satellite is only in view for a few minutes every time it passes over which doesn't give you much time to transfer data. I doubt geostationary orbit could be done this cheaply.

Amateur radio users have been doing it for many years using voice and data via packet radio. Very low bandwidth though.

Re:Pirates in Space! (3, Interesting)

rm999 (775449) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919619)

If it's bit torrent with enough people in the swarm, each person only needs to download a small part of the file, and then share that part with everyone else.

Re:Pirates in Space! (1)

Rijnzael (1294596) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919239)

Except the data has to enter the Internet somewhere, on some company's network, and that company can always be slapped with an injunction.

Re:Pirates in Space! (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919291)

...on some company's network...

No it doesn't. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Pirates in Space! (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919485)

the IRLP Stilltransmits via the internet which means traffic goes over one or more internet providers.

Re:Pirates in Space! (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919625)

the IRLP Still transmits via the internet...

It doesn't need to. And regardless, I just wanted to point out that radio wireless networks are practical.

Commercial applications (4, Interesting)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#28918757)

The sign that a technology has really matured enough to be taken seriously is when it starts to have commercial applications. Moreover, the presence of businesses like this will help provide further incentive for the improvement of space related technologies.

However, it isn't clear to me who would use a half-pound satellite that can only last a few weeks. TFA lists the following possible applications:

Earth-from-space video imaging. Earth magnetic field measurement. Satellite orientation detection (horizon sensor, gyros, accelerometers, etc.). Orbital environment measurements (temperature, pressure, radiation, etc.). On-orbit hardware and software component testing (microprocessors, etc.). Tracking migratory animals from orbit. Testing satellite stabilization methods. Biological experiments. On-orbit advertising. Private e-mail

Honestly, I don't see much use of most of those as a general use. Certainly scientists will benefit from this sort of technology but I doubt anyone would try to use this for private e-mail systems. You would just use the internet and encrypt your stuff. The idea of using this sort of thing for low cost climate and weather data gathering is interesting. I suspect that as with many technologies, new uses will be developed that we cannot easily anticipate now that the technology is still young.

Will falling space debris be a problem? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#28918889)

Is this getting anyone else worried?

Re:Will falling space debris be a problem? (4, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#28918983)

Half pound chunks that burn up on reentry aren't going to hurt anything.

Re:Will falling space debris be a problem? (5, Funny)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919063)

/me hides half-pound ball of nickel-cobalt cement reinforced with titantium carbide behind his back

What was that?

Re:Will falling space debris be a problem? (4, Informative)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919233)

Not really. Our best plan for artificial weaponized meteors is telephone-pole-to-crowbar sized rods of tungsten [wikipedia.org] . Somehow I doubt that much tungsten weighs less than 0.5 pounds.

Re:Commercial applications (1)

themacks (1197889) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919171)

It would be nice for a company to be able to test satellite equipment (long term uses) in a short run, inexpensive, environment. 8000 is pretty reasonable compared to the cost of putting a full size satellite in orbit then realizing something doesn't work quite right.

Space Spam (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919247)

On-orbit advertising.

Girl: "Ahhh, Isn't the moon sooo romantic?"

Boy: "Yes, it is sweetums....Uh, I have something to ask you."

Space Spam Pops in View: "Bob's Penis Enhancer, for the nervous times in your life. $99.95"

Girl: "Yes darling, what is it?"

Boy: "Oh, never mind."

Re:Commercial applications (4, Informative)

TorKlingberg (599697) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919301)

Satellite technology has had commercial applications for decades.

Re:Commercial applications (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919833)

How about broadcasting democratic information via FM/AM radio to restricted countries? I'd think it'd be low enough to work.

Re:Commercial applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28920139)

John Walker of Autocad fame once outlined a plan to launch a rocket a day to see if there was a market for such a thing. He made comparisons to the German's V2 program that made 6000+ rockets at a cost of $13K each, with slave labor to be sure but modern technology should count for something.

http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/rocketaday.html

planetes? (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 4 years ago | (#28918771)

it's good that the orbit isn't sable, but i'm starting to think there should be some international law regulating space junk. i'd hate to see earth's orbit becoming so cluttered that sending anything up there just ends up generating more junk due to high speed collisions. that could really be the end of space exploration, at least until we make a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_gun [wikipedia.org] and pull all the debris down from the surface.

Re:planetes? (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919095)

I don't think we have to go to quite that extreme. There are more realistic options [foolsmountain.com] to consider first.

Re:planetes? (1)

machine321 (458769) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919117)

it's good that the orbit isn't sable

Yeah, fur (or Mercury automobiles) would never last in space.

Re:planetes? (2, Interesting)

sketerpot (454020) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919409)

Gravity guns are science fiction, but laser brooms [wikipedia.org] could bring down space junk. You fire a laser into space from the earth, and any space junk in its path gets partially ablated, which thrusts it into a more eccentric orbit, which increases atmospheric drag and makes its orbit decay faster.

Re:planetes? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#28920177)

Oh yeah, I dont see that going horribly wrong....

Every time I see someone talk of that all I can think of is really cheezy Japanese SciFi from the 80's that angers and awakens moth-ra.

Ashes in space business (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#28918781)

240 grams for $8,000? At less than $35/gram this is a great way to send a piece of yourself into space, and you don't even have to die and be cremated first.

If anyone starts a "fingernail clippings/hair/teeth/etc. in space" program for under $50/gram let me know.

Sounds like a great birthday party for a rich kid who loves space: Parents can fork over a few $hundred to send a baby tooth into space for a few weeks.

Re:Ashes in space business (1)

monkeySauce (562927) | more than 4 years ago | (#28918961)

Remains are one thing, but sending your kid's teeth or whatever to space??

Wait... actually I'll do it for $25/gram. I assure you I will deliver your parcel to "space" --I've got space in my garage, heh-- and you can get the kid a telescope and tell him to look for it. No need for a wasteful rocket launch. I get paid, the kid gets a thrill and you get plausible deniability (I paid to send it to space, I swear!). Everybody wins.

Re:Ashes in space business (4, Funny)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919075)

I think there are people who can get you that high for even less per gram. Well, for your first hit anyway.

Re:Ashes in space business (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919643)

You could partner up with the people that name stars and give a combo discount!

Propoganda? (1)

yoman82 (1610531) | more than 4 years ago | (#28918883)

Could this be used to send information, specifically protected or censored information from low earth orbit, specifically to Iran and other countries in turmoil/ with oppressive regimes?

Re:Propoganda? (1)

belmolis (702863) | more than 4 years ago | (#28918973)

I don't see why this would help. They can jam it like anything else. It isn't as if their jamming methods rely on blocking line-of-sight. And you aren't going to get much power from a transmitter in one of these.

Re:Propoganda? (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919213)

Potentially. But how are you going to let people know the information is available there? If you are broadcasting the information back down then people will need to be listening on the right frequencies as your sat passes over as you are not going to have a transmitter powerful enough to drown out a common frequency use by other transmissions.

And that is ignoring the fact that the orbit is not going to be anything like geostationary so there will only be specific time windows when your target audience have give "line of sight" to pick up your information. You won't find a mass audience with the right equipment (probably expensive equipment) pointed the right way at the right time, especially under a regime where being found to have possession of such equipment without correct license to do so may net you and your family a severe case if lead poisoning.

Re:Propoganda? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919465)

Too small and too hard to pick up.
If anything if you really wanted to do that you would want to launch a Really large satellite with a huge dish. Maybe set it up to broadcast UHF TV or even FM radio. Such a bird would break every international law on the books probably but it would be really cool.

Re:Propoganda? (2, Interesting)

Brianwa (692565) | more than 4 years ago | (#28920107)

There are numerous stories about people using existing satellites covertly to do this. Apparently many older communications birds, including TV satellites, are more or less dumb repeaters with directional antennas. With the right equipment and during the right time windows, it's possible to start your own personal little TV station or broadcast. I don't have any links but some searching should turn up an article or two.

What's the point? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28918895)

If it only survives for some weeks? I'd expect at least a decade of life and to roll my own satellite.
Yes. For that price!

Re:What's the point? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28919183)

Laws of diminishing returns. Suppose your project is to image a lake at 123.456 nm. Once you got that done, surviving longer means that you can reobserve the same lake n times or look at m other lakes, but the value of that isn't n+m times that of the original mission.

Re:What's the point? (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919671)

If I wanted to look at a lake at 123.456 nanometers, I'd look for a really good microscope before using a satellite.

Re:What's the point? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28919777)

It's a wavelength, not a distance.

Tonga vs. the atmosphere (0, Troll)

retech (1228598) | more than 4 years ago | (#28918963)

For a country that bitches a fair amount about global warming and the responsibilities We (humans et al) have to our home... Tonga seems to want to make up lost time and really help break the camel's back.

This is why I don't see the sense in having kids. To hell with responsibility!

Re:Tonga vs. the atmosphere (4, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919041)

A couple of rockets is piss compared to the millions of cars, factories, and volcanoes in the world. "Straw that breaks the camel's back" is just a strawman (pun not intended :/) argument used by ludites that have something against cool technologies for some reason.

Re:Tonga vs. the atmosphere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28919179)

A couple of rockets is piss compared to the millions of cars, factories, and volcanoes in the world. "Straw that breaks the camel's back" is just a strawman (pun not intended :/) argument used by ludites that have something against cool technologies for some reason.

Because it's easy to bitch (and get modded "interesting"), it's tough to actually do something about it.

Especially when you don't really give a damn, except in an "I really should care about this but don't" sort of way.

Re:Tonga vs. the atmosphere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28919245)

...
This is why I don't see the sense in having kids. To hell with responsibility!

Thank you for removing your genes from the pool.

Re:Tonga vs. the atmosphere (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919259)

Ummm what are you talking about? This will be a tiny fraction of what the cars and probably the electric generators on Tonga put out. Honestly if you really are worried about I wouldn't be. This company is pushing an untried rocket and will probably never put a pound into orbit. This seems alike a money grab for to me along with some publicity.

Re:Tonga vs. the atmosphere (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919849)

Perhaps you should practice what you preach, and switch your computer off.

More space junk (1)

richardkelleher (1184251) | more than 4 years ago | (#28918965)

Like there isn't already enough crap floating around up there that someone needs to clean up!

the alternatives are overwhelming! (1)

Youngbull (1569599) | more than 4 years ago | (#28918969)

how cool wouldn't it be to send up an apple! or you know something of other peculiar interest like I china bowl or a teddy bear.... and for a mear 8 grand it does make for the ultimate DIY project even if it is only for a couple of weeks! It would be cool to show that you do understand it so much that you can make one of your own!

Hazardous material. (2, Interesting)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919019)

I understand that the volume is currently small, but they are commercializing the burn-up of potentially hazardous material in earth atmosphere. Circuit boards contain many things that shouldn't be burned. I hope that they screen for hazardous material that shouldn't be put into the atmosphere.

Do I... (3, Funny)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919029)

...get to chose where it comes down? I really don't know, but I wonder if one could design a .5 pound satellite with the express intention of surviving re-entry, like a 1/2 pound slug of lead in the shape of a dart or a sphere.

I don't need much mass to survive the heat of re-entry. A few grams at orbital velocity, in the right place, would be enough to give my enemies pause...

Re:Do I... (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919267)

"Do I get to chose where it comes down?"

Sure - 1/4# payload, 1/4# guidance system.

Of course, if you are THAT much into preemptive self defense, you could just buy 2 and have them attached - one for payload and 1 for guidance.

Now, all you need is a spinning mirror...

Re:Do I... (2, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919793)

It says you can link up to four together at a time. I guess the first unit would have the antennas, thrusters and deployment, with up to three separate payloads.

Re:Do I... (4, Funny)

Narnie (1349029) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919865)

...get to chose where it comes down? I really don't know, but I wonder if one could design a .5 pound satellite with the express intention of surviving re-entry, like a 1/2 pound slug of lead in the shape of a dart or a sphere.

That's one heck of a way to commit suicide.

Expensive. (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919057)

Isn't the cost to put junk in orbit through existing channels just 2000/pound? That puts this at 16 times the existing rate and you don't even get a stable orbit.

I Call BS (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28919081)

32 satellites at $8K each is only $256,000. Subtract the cost of the materials used to build the satellites. (I'm assuming they're not using class S parts, but solar panels, etc still ain't cheap.) They're seriously planning to deploy a working delivery system to space for that kind of money?

Re:I Call BS (3, Informative)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919381)

If you figure it costs about $10,000/lb to launch stuff into space, launching 16 pounds would leave $96,000 for administration and profit. The numbers are plausible. And if they start launching from a Virgin space plane, then the launch costs could do down dramatically.

Re:I Call BS (3, Interesting)

BuR4N (512430) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919711)

They seem to base their ideas on what the OTRAG project tested and worked on in the late 70s. The idea is that the rocket is made up of inexpensive paralell coupled "segments".

The idea behind the OTRAG design was that if each segment where identical, the manufacturing process could be streamlined to a very cost effective level, much like how cars are made.

More on the OTRAG project here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OTRAG [wikipedia.org]
http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/otrag.htm [astronautix.com]

Re:I Call BS (5, Informative)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919875)

You didn't RTFA. For $8,000 this comes with a turnkey satellite + satellite development software environment,
 

  • Casing, Endplates, and Mounting Hardware
  • A Transceiver
  • A Battery Pack
  • Solar Cells
  • A Power Management Control System (PMCS)
  • Microcomputer
  • Software
  • Antennas
  • Safety Switches
  • Complete Instructions

 
with equipment that's already gone through R&D, and warrantied against failure during the trip into space, with space for additional cargo of up to 0.2kg. I'm sure they'd sell you the empty casing plus space on the rocket for less than $8 large (maybe as low as 4K? judging from their pricing model, it looks like the 4K is for the actual propellant/overhead costs), but it's going to cost a business a whole lot more than 8K to develop space-worthy electronics + software to put in the canister.

Re: I Call BS (5, Informative)

abushga (864910) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919901)

It's not BS. Last I checked you could put 1 KG into LEO for $25K. http://www.cubesatkit.com/ [cubesatkit.com]

Cubesats typically hitch a ride with larger projects for cost efficiency.

http://cubesat.ece.uiuc.edu/ [uiuc.edu]
http://mtech.dk/thomsen/space/cubesat.php [mtech.dk]
http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/satellites/cubesats.php [amsat.org]

Pay in advance? (1)

devaudio (596215) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919109)

what are other people doing, impulse buying a satellite launch?

Fly me to the Moon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28919121)

Really this is pure space junk vanity. What's the point with such a trivial payload. You can't do any real science by sending your iPhone into orbit. Call me when they're offering cheap 20-kilogram payloads to the Moon (something as heavy as a laser printer).

Was anyone else thinking... (2, Interesting)

whereiswaldo (459052) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919125)

- Can I put a 1/2 pound of magnesium up there?

- How about a 1/2 pound of liquid oxy-acetylene?

- Where'd I put my AOL CD collection?

It would be fun if they just set up a space dock you could stand on and throw shit into the atmosphere to see what happens.

Just what we need... (1)

bjustice (1053864) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919169)

Commoditized space junk. Lovely. And for only $800 I will personally throw a piece of plastic into the North Pacific Gyre on your behalf.

I need a rocket scientist... (2, Funny)

Baron_Yam (643147) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919211)

Given that you'd need electronics on board and three thrusters, I doubt you could get a reentry-survivable slug of any appreciable mass up there under this program.

Still, its neat to think about wiping my enemies out with artificial meteorites.

Personal Spy Satellite? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28919295)

Anyone else want to get together and buy a our own spy satellite? One of the components is Earth-from-space video imaging.... probably wont be very powerful, but we could still see what images we could get of Area 51 :P

Re:Personal Spy Satellite? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919393)

But you have to know Natalie Portman's swimming cycle.
   

McSputnik (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919323)

catchy name. MySputnik? Sputniklets? Sputninnies? Sputmites? Spuklings? Spuklites?

CO2 cartridges to break earth's orbit? (3, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919599)

How many high pressure CO2 cartridges can you fit in one of those, and would they provide enough thrust to get your device out of earth's orbit? Maybe stick it in a figure 8 orbital pattern between the moon and earth, or shoot it off towards Mars. I would imagine you need substantially less thrust to break from earth's orbit for a lowly half-pound payload than say, a space shuttle, not to mention, the pressure differential is substantially greater.

Re:CO2 cartridges to break earth's orbit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28919757)

According to the all-knowing, all-seeing Trash Heap, [wikipedia.org] there's an energy difference of about 20MJ/kg between low earth orbit and geostationary orbit. I don't think a couple of CO2 cartridges is going to cut it.

Re:CO2 cartridges to break earth's orbit? (3, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#28920159)

Hmm I looked at this some more. It looks like there is only a 2,900 joule requirement to leave earth's orbit from LEO for a 1kg object. So you're looking at 1450 joules to leave earth's orbit at full weight; a CO2 cartridge provides about 150 joules of energy. You should be able to fit at least three CO2 cartridges in that canister, so you're already 40% of the way to deep space exploration using off the shelf technology! Plus each cartridge uses 12g of CO2, so the probe becomes lighter as it uses it's fuel. 60g of liquid oxygen/hydrogen peroxide should be enough to slingshot the probe around the moon towards the planet of your choice.
 
The PDF says you can link up to 4 of these together; in theory you could have two pressurized canisters of fuel, one canister functioning as the nozzle and flight computer, with the fourth canister holding your scientific instrument payload.

I have one thing to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28919617)

Gerbils in space!

Finally (1)

oljanx (1318801) | more than 4 years ago | (#28919941)

We'll soon have the worlds first twittering satellite.

Do they give Octopussy discounts? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#28920123)

I would like to commission all spots on a launch. I have some very special orchids I have been growing that I need to launch into space and have orbit the planet...

Now where did I put my evil lap kitty....

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