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Budget Satellite

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the take-notes-iridium dept.

Space 213

codejunkie writes: "Check out this story from the Baltimore Sun. Apparently the middies were laughed at when they proposed a budget satellite for 50K. Boeing said it couldn't be done and gave them 250K. Well now they can build five more because the smart minds on the bay have built one."

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213 comments

Yep (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215734)

Frist Prost

Thank me (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215740)

Thanks to my patch [sourceforge.net] on Sourceforge, slashdot is fixed.

Slashcode is way too complicated now.

-klerck

Re:Thank me (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215747)

you, are an evil, evil man.
and i hate you.
/me goes in the corner and cries....

Re:Thank me (-1, Offtopic)

norculf (146473) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215798)

Konqueror was not impressed by your web site, and neither was I. So it is with great pleasure that I take the opportunity the be the first one to scream:

TOTALLY GAY GOATSE.CX LINK WITH JAVASCRIPT POPUP WINDOW ATTACK!!! SOMEONE GET THIS GUYS BALLS!!!

Thank you for your time.

Re:Thank me (0)

Flarners (458839) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215821)

Yeah, isn't it great to have a browser that actually listens to the "Content-type:" of the HTTP header?

Re:Thank me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215827)

Sometimes it's nice to be on a Mac (vs. Windows). If someone pulls that stupid shit, just quit the browser. Closes all parent, child, etc. windows belonging to the application. Under Windows... close one browser, another pops up, close browser, another pops up, close, pop, close, pop. Greaaaaaat.

Re:Thank me (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215855)

Do you really want this guy's balls? I dunno - personally, I think they're a little over-fermented for my tastes.

Re:Thank me (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215911)

fuck you, biznaa [rotten.com] aaaaaa [adcritic.com] aaaaaatch !!!


fuck! fuck! shit! shit! pee on your grave!

Five more? (0, Offtopic)

Grelli (98061) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215741)

"proposed a budget satellite for 50K. Boeing said it couldn't be done and gave them 250K. Well now they can build five more because the smart minds on the bay have built one."

OK, so you build one satallite for $50,000, that leaves you with $200,000.... how do you build five more $50,000 satallites with $200,000?

Re:Five more? (1)

SlashGeek (192010) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215750)

Mabey they get a bulk discount?

lol (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215758)

Slashdot editors are such dumb fucks. BTW, this thing sounds like it'll break in about 10 minutes. What a piece of shit.

"Who needs a $50,000 antenna system when a metal tape measure might do the job?"

Might? Yeah great there Mr. Army Man. Only problem is it'll cost about a million dollars to put that POS in orbit, so if it breaks the first day because of your shit design, it wasn't too much of a deal now was it?

Re:lol (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215847)

> Only problem is it'll cost about a million dollars to put that POS in orbit, so if it breaks the first day because of your shit design,

Hello Patrick!

Re:lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2216010)

No million dollars, the launch is free, piggybacked onto another satellite launch. Lots of opportunities for free launch like this exist, most satellites launch with concrete ballast to bring the payload up to a set weight, importantant for a predictible trajectory.

Re:lol (2)

mpe (36238) | more than 12 years ago | (#2216133)

Lots of opportunities for free launch like this exist, most satellites launch with concrete ballast to bring the payload up to a set weight, importantant for a predictible trajectory.

How much concrete, there could be scope for quite a lot of "hitchhiking"...
Also is this regular concrete or a special (expensive) kind?

Re:Five more? (1)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215778)

Obviously, they are using goverment math...

:)

Re:Five more? (1)

Griim (8798) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215779)

Well, they did say much of the expenses came from paying facilities to test their bargain-basement ideas. So you would assume that subsequent stages wouldn't require quite so much testing, unless they're making radical changes.

Re:Five more? (1)

matrix0040 (516176) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215832)

Oh u don't have to give the kickbacks for all of them.
Cost of satallite=$40,000 *(6)
Kickback to politicians=10,000
Total = $250,000!

Re:Five more? (1)

goldfndr (97724) | more than 12 years ago | (#2216059)

You haven't heard of Moore's law [intel.com] ? Of course, not everything is chips, but prices do tend to fall and/or some components get replaced with cheaper alternatives.

Re:Five more? (2)

mpe (36238) | more than 12 years ago | (#2216131)

OK, so you build one satallite for $50,000, that leaves you with $200,000.... how do you build five more $50,000 satallites with $200,000?

The first one was a prototype, maybe it cost then $10,000 working out how to put it together right. So the next lot would only cost around $40,000.
The point is that Boeing thought that $250,000 was a minimal kind of figure.

The quality? (2, Insightful)

Modus Nonsens (461848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215742)

But will the quality be the same? Aren't the more expensive parts expensive just because they are designed for outer space use?

Re:The quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215780)

Actually this reminds me of something else... [bnl.gov]

Re:The quality? (1)

norculf (146473) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215844)

ROFL. Probably a lot of shit though. NASA funds a lot of Open Source work.

Re:The quality? (1)

norculf (146473) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215857)

Spoke too soon.

The next guy who talked was Jose Munoz from DOE. He did a Dave Letterman by going through the top 10 reason why Open Source software is bad in reverse order. The last one being, or rather item #1, the question "Would you want to fly in an airplane whose complete flight system was developed using Open Source by the lowest bidder?", followed by a bullet reading "Whom do you sue when the thing goes wrong? (assuming you're a survivor)". It's unfortunate that the guy who works for the same government agency which provides my paycheck gave such a negative perspective to this issue. It was good to listen to one of the members of the audience make a statement, at the end of the session, that if given a choice between the plane running open source software or something running under a Microsoft OS, he would much prefer the open source one, given the track record of Microsoft software. There were a couple of chuckles in the audience and a blushed smile from Todd of Microsoft.
Note: You can find Jose Munoz's full presentation in this .pdf file. [bnl.gov]


Anyway, I would be more worried about this. [bnl.gov] If thats what they do with fibers on the ground, imagine what the inside of a satillite looks like.

Radio Shack (2)

Detritus (11846) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215927)

I remember seeing a schematic for an electronic circuit that explicitly specified a particular Radio Shack part for one of the semiconductor devices. The circuit would not work with commercial quality devices, only the Radio Shack part could be relied upon to have sufficient leakage current, which is normally a bad thing, for the circuit to work.

Re:The quality? (2)

tagishsimon (175038) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215977)

From the article: If all goes as planned, the academy would become the third undergraduate institution to send a satellite into space, after Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, and the U.S. Air Force Academy, which launched a satellite in January 2000. That satellite stopped responding after several days because of what professors there believe was a power supply problem.



So the answer is, maybe not. And who exactly wants that sort of pollution flying around up there anyway?

Re:The quality? (1)

halbritt (30189) | more than 12 years ago | (#2216096)

But will the quality be the same? Aren't the more expensive parts expensive just because they are designed for outer space use?

Well, Radio Shack electronic components have a reputation for being the very poorest quality. It is possible to acquire much higher quality components for similar or better prices at places like Digi-Key [digikey.com] or Mouser Electronics [mouser.com] .

Even if they did use the very highest quality electronic components available there wouldn't be much relative cost difference. If a resistor at Radio Shack is $0.10ea and a much better resistor is available from a real electronics supplier for $0.20ea then there's not going to be much of a difference when you need a dozen of them.

And how long... (1)

keller (267973) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215743)

do they think it'll last???

"Native" Americans: An absurd liberal myth: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215744)

One of the greatest lies that historians have ever told is that the continent that we now refer to as North America was inhabited by "native peoples" at the time of its discovery by Columbus. This, as true history has shown, is sheer poppycock; it is a nefarious fantasy concocted in the minds of those who wish to control our collective destinies. Not only are there no contemporary documents that support the existence of these fantasy "natives", the people who are responsible for inventing them have never been particularly secretive about their true motives. It is interesting to note that in the late 1950s, no American (indeed, no person) had ever even heard of these so-called "native Americans." But then, in the 1960s, stories of them suddenly started appearing seemingly from nowhere. Your next-door neighbor started relating stories from his great-grandmother about "Injun attacks." Schoolchildren started to get educated about the different "tribes" and "nations" of these people, and yet not one parent demanded to see evidence of their existence. Our children were taught stories about how the great white pioneers of this nation supposedly plundered these peoples and took their land from them, and our children felt ashamed. Of course they felt ashamed! That's the whole reason these fantasy "native Americans" exist! They were invented by radical leftist agitators at Berkeley in the early 1960s. The primary purpose that these mythical "Indians" serve is to instill false guilt in white people. They exist to make the Chosen People of this land feel badly about their own history and heritage, and that is a thought crime. Liberalism is about (first and foremost) the hatred of self and love of collective. To that end, this nation's leftists felt it necessary to invent an entire imaginary race of people that were "pillaged" by this continent's Anglo-Saxon discoverers. The goal: to make this nation's guardians hate themselves and their heritage, and be sympathetic to that which is alien and unacceptable. The truth, of course, is that none of these stories has the least bit of credibility; despite repeated requests from the conservative community, liberals have been unable to produce a single "native American." And so we must file this lie in the same trash dumpster as the (extremely overexaggerated) stories of so-called "slavery" of the 1800s. Patriots must constantly guard their country from its enemies, and we must realize that more today than ever before, its enemies are more likely to attack from within.

Re:"Native" Americans: An absurd liberal myth: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215765)

You do realize your ip address is linked to this post, right? So even if you hide behind the "Anonymous Coward", people can still track you down and slice your scalp off. I mean... beat your brains out... or something. Yes...

Re:"Native" Americans: An absurd liberal myth: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215771)

I assume 70% will be first on the list of people eager to do that, since this is his troll, I believe.

yeah, well... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215804)

sue me. more copyrighted material, the posting of which is a crime sentenceable with death, under the DMCA:

Slashdot Green Eggs and Ham:I will not eat them while I code. I will not eat them a'la mode. I will not eat them with a roll. I will not eat them while I troll. I will not eat them with hot grits. I will not eat them off Natalie Portman's...

Re:yeah, well... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215936)

Yeah, that was pretty incoherent. You'd best stick to ripping off great trolls of the past.

Re:"Native" Americans: An absurd liberal myth: (2, Offtopic)

cyberdonny (46462) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215886)

> You do realize your ip address is linked to this post, right? So even if you hide behind the "Anonymous Coward", people can still track you down and slice your scalp off.

Yes, but, unless you are Slashdot personnel, or unless you post from the same IP and happen to have mod-points, there is no way you can read that stored IP address.

  • Slashdot personnel won't reveal or abuse the IP address, at least not for a troll as lame as this one. Heck, they didn't do it during the Anne Tomlinson fiasko, where they would have had much stronger motives...
  • So, that leaves possibility 2 (Same IP & mod points). However, this one is extremely unlikely, unless the troller is a colleague of yours, working behind the same NAT or proxy, or a user of the same ISP, and you got allocated his IP.
  • Oh, I forgot a third possibility: you yourself may be the troll, making it trivial for you to find out the IP address...

"Free" Software: An absurd GNU myth: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215988)

One of the greatest lies that historians have ever told is that software that we now refer to as gifts was kept free at the time of its discovery by Gates. This, as true history has shown, is sheer poppycock; it is a nefarious fantasy concocted in the minds of those who wish to control our collective destinies. Not only are there no contemporary documents that support the existence of this fantasy "free software", the people who are responsible for inventing it have never been particularly secretive about their true motives. It is interesting to note that in the late 1990s, no American (indeed, no person) had ever even heard of this so-called "Free Software Foundation." But then, in the 1980s, stories of them suddenly started appearing seemingly from nowhere. Your next-door neighbor started relating stories about "free software." Schoolchildren started to get educated about the different "tribes" and "groups" of these free software people, and yet not one parent demanded to see evidence of their existence. Our children were taught stories about how the great white pioneers of software supposedly plundered these peoples and took their software from them, and our children felt ashamed. Of course they felt ashamed! That's the whole reason this fantasy "FSF" exist! They were invented by radical leftist agitators at MIT in the early 1980s. The primary purpose that this mythical "FSF" serve is to instill false guilt in white people. They exist to make the Chosen People of this land feel badly about MS's software, and that is a thought crime. FSF is about (first and foremost) the hatred of money and love of goatse.cx. To that end, this nation's communists felt it necessary to invent an entire imaginary group that were "pillaged" by this continent's MS founders. The goal: to make this nation's guardians hate themselves and their software, and be sympathetic to that which is alien and unacceptable. The truth, of course, is that none of these stories has the least bit of credibility; despite repeated requests from the MS community, developers have been unable to produce a single piece of "free software." and profit. And so we must file this lie in the same trash dumpster as the (extremely overexaggerated) stories of so-called "UNIX" of the 1970s. Americans must constantly guard their computers from its enemies, and we must realize that more today than ever before, its enemies are more likely to attack from within.

nice troll .. but a little obvious ... a B- (1)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 12 years ago | (#2216004)

btw, my great Uncle Spencer [who passed in '65, at 102] was an Indian fighter ... use to tell me stories that went along with his scars. He ****ing hated indians, worse than Democrats.

Woo hoo (2, Funny)

WickedClean (230550) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215745)

Oh great, the Yugo of sattelites. Parts are gonna break off and land on my house, now that I've said something.

Don't you wish people would give you 5 times the amount you asked for when doing projects like this?

Re:Woo hoo (2)

s390 (33540) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215852)

Jeez, talk about the Military-Industrial Complex! (ref. Eisenhower's warning upon leaving office) - usually industry applies for grants from government, but here it's the other way around. Boeing actually gave the U.S. Naval Academy 250 big ones? I guess the Bush campaign figured it had enough money to buy, er... win, the election already, so Rumsfeld just nudged and winked... and Boeing paid.

I wonder if Boeing gained any rights to the cheap technology developed by these government employees using this "grant" money?

Re:Woo hoo (1)

jesser (77961) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215877)

Don't you wish people would give you 5 times the amount you asked for

Not when I'm "asking for it" by predicting that a satellite will fall and hit my house :)

The "Moon": An Absurd Liberal Myth: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215746)

It amazes me that so many allegedly "educated" people have fallen so quickly and so hard for a fraudulent fabrication of such laughable proportions. The very idea that a gigantic ball of rock happens to orbit our planet, showing itself in neat, four-week cycles -- with the same side facing us all the time -- is ludicrous. Furthermore, it is an insult to common sense and a damnable affront to intellectual honesty and integrity. That people actually believe it is evidence that the liberals have wrested the last vestiges of control of our public school system from decent, God-fearing Americans (as if any further evidence was needed! Daddy's Roommate? God Almighty!)

Documentaries such as Enemy of the State have accurately portrayed the elaborate, byzantine network of surveillance satellites that the liberals have sent into space to spy on law-abiding Americans. Equipped with technology developed by Handgun Control, Inc., these satellites have the ability to detect firearms from hundreds of kilometers up. That's right, neighbors .. the next time you're out in the backyard exercising your Second Amendment rights, the liberals will see it! These satellites are sensitive enough to tell the difference between a Colt .45 and a .38 Special! And when they detect you with a firearm, their computers cross-reference the address to figure out your name, and then an enormous database housed at Berkeley is updated with information about you.

Of course, this all works fine during the day, but what about at night? Even the liberals can't control the rotation of the Earth to prevent nightfall from setting in (only Joshua was able to ask for that particular favor!) That's where the "moon" comes in. Powered by nuclear reactors, the "moon" is nothing more than an enormous balloon, emitting trillions of candlepower of gun-revealing light. Piloted by key members of the liberal community, the "moon" is strategically moved across the country, pointing out those who dare to make use of their God-given rights at night!

Yes, I know this probably sounds paranoid and preposterous, but consider this. Despite what the revisionist historians tell you, there is no mention of the "moon" anywhere in literature or historical documents -- anywhere -- before 1950. That is when it was initially launched. When President Josef Kennedy, at the State of the Union address, proclaimed "We choose to go to the moon", he may as well have said "We choose to go to the weather balloon." The subsequent faking of a "moon" landing on national TV was the first step in a long history of the erosion of our constitutional rights by leftists in this country. No longer can we hide from our government when the sun goes down.

Re:The "Moon": An Absurd Liberal Myth: (1)

norculf (146473) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215757)

Does it have a big laser like the Death Star?

Crackpot trolls...not even trying.

But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215850)

How come I can see the moon with my high-powered telecsope.. I can see the craters and stuff with infinite detail. How did they do that?

Feet away... (3, Funny)

Justen (517232) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215754)

"And they were innovative - they discovered that the tape in a tape measure would flip into place on its own while in orbit."

We remember the last space venture battling metric versus auxiliary measurement systems.

(I'm sorry NASA. You guys do wonderful things. I just couldn't resist.)

jrbd

They should call it (3, Funny)

Modus Nonsens (461848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215761)

The MacGyver satellite

Slashdot bug (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215767)

Dude, when I looked at the main screen, it said 0 replies, but when I clicked on "Read More..." it displayed 20! Why do you do this -- it just increases the rate of spurious FP attempts!

Another bug (0, Offtopic)

Modus Nonsens (461848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215825)

Sometimes clicking on comments brings me back to the first page.

Can you imagine... (-1)

Patrick Bateman (175284) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215775)

... a Beowulf cluster of these?

Thank you.

--Patrick Bateman, Esq.

Anything that's as buggy as Banjo deserves this (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215785)

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Re:Anything that's as buggy as Banjo deserves this (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215800)

This is one of the most brilliant abuses of Slashdot I've ever seen. Well done!

Re:Anything that's as buggy as Banjo deserves this (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215817)

props to the crazy man...and i am saving the html from your comment for future abuse

Re:Anything that's as buggy as Banjo deserves this (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2216058)

Heh, you're not the only one who can pull this off: (from nf)

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yoinken bloink [----------wxxrxvx]
cheese n chips [----------...------.com]
yoinken bloink [------------]
balls and cunt [------------]
balls and cunt [--------------..]
Lore snarled, showing his teeth, and lunged viciously at his usurper of a brother. He intended to make Data pay for all that he had done, and Lore was damned if he wasn't going to enjoy this. Data staggered backwards a few steps as Lore's body crashed into him, just managing to keep his feet beneath him. His brother had always been unstable, but Data had never seen him in such a murderous rage before. The situation was quickly becoming out of control and Data was beginning to think this confrontation was an error. It was far too late to do anything about it now though. Lore had both hands around Data's slender neck in a grasp that would have crushed any other lifeform. Lifting him a good foot above the deck, Lore threw him as hard as he could against the bulkhead. Data slammed into the wall with stunning force, collapsing in a heap at its base. Blinking away a momentary confusion Data climbed once again to his feet. Any hesitation, he was sure, could prove fatal. Lore closed the gap between them in no time at all, eyes spitting yellow flame, but Data was ready for him. His fist lashed out faster than a human eye could follow and connected solidly under Lore's chin, snapping his head back and driving him back a step. Before Lore had a chance to recover his balance, Data had both hands clenched around the black fabric that made up Lore's tight fitting black jumpsuit, knotting the material at the chest. Data viciously jerked Lore towards himself, pivoted on a heel, and spun him bodily into the wall of the room. Without giving the other android a nanosecond to counter attack, Data dragged him forward and smashed him into the barrier again and again. The back of Lore's head struck repeatedly against the bulkhead with a dull thump, lolling obscenely back and forth as if no longer firmly attached to his shoulders. Various scalp panels popped off and clattered to the deck, revealing lights pulsing madly in random patterns. With a shockingly loud sound the front of Lore's jumpsuit suddenly tore down the front, and the android collapsed like a disjointed rag doll. Data dropped the loose fabric, bent, and hauled his brother into the air with one arm and then tossed him across the room. He landed on a table, the impact smashing the piece of wooden furniture into splinters. Data paced towards his twin and squatted beside his unmoving form, clinically noting the way Lore's eyes seemed to fade from the usually glowing amber to a dull gray, and then pulse back to life. It was the work of a few seconds to forcibly rip the remains of Lore's clothing from his body, to leave him sprawled naked and twitching amongst the shards of the table. Moving quickly, Data made a minute adjustment within the bared workings of his brothers skull, and then began tearing the destroyed jumpsuit into long, thick strips. Smiling to himself, Data went to work.

How much to launch? (1)

duplo (253071) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215786)

If the project costs 45k to build, what is the launch cost??

Surely money would be better spent on making the system more reliable, than to waste it on an unsuccessful launch.

Re:How much to launch? (-1)

Patrick Bateman (175284) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215795)

[brings pinky finger to corner of mouth]

One million dollars!

Re:How much to launch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215996)

Actually, it is free. When a large satellite is launched, there is almost always ballast placed on the rocket to provide a fixed mass for assuring a proper trajectory. Small satellites like this one often get rides for free or almost free this way. Amateurs have launched more than 40 birds in this fashion.

More information (4, Informative)

Gogo Dodo (129808) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215794)

The article didn't provide any external links or even program names. So...

  • The satellite is called PCsat [navy.mil] (Prototype Communications Satellite, went cheap on the name, too, I guess)
  • Information on the Kodiak Launch Complex [akaerospace.com]
  • Information on Starshine III [azinet.com] , the "1,500 hand-polished mirrors that will study orbital decay" satellite

Re:More information (2, Informative)

Inferno (91359) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215848)

For those interested in the communications protocol (APRS) this sat is going to use, check this web site [navy.mil] out. I've been using APRS for about 1.5 years, and it's a blast to play with. :)

Satellite list (2, Informative)

Gogo Dodo (129808) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215869)

It took awhile, but I tracked down more information. There are four satellites going up:

3 more.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215810)

because unforseen expenses being factored in, you arent going to have the full 200,000 left

$50000 is a little steep (1)

meggito (516763) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215812)

if you got some creative electrical engineers together and explained what you needed they could do it for under 10000 easy

give this job to caltech and see what they can do

middies? (1, Funny)

HunterRose (101651) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215814)

for what its worth, we hate the term middies. mids or midshipmen is far more preferable.

The solar panels? (2)

ConsumedByTV (243497) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215822)

Anyone have any idea where the $25 panels can be purchased for $25 like the article says?

I want to build an array to power my house.... Or at least build an dc -> ac power outlet for my laptop in the desert... Anyone have any idea?

Re:The solar panels? (2, Informative)

baptiste (256004) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215960)

One of my favorite web stores is a place called ALF Enterprises [alfenterprises.com] . They have all sorts of stuff, FRS radios, alternate power systems, etc. And they sell all sorts of solar panels [alfenterprises.com] , some for $25. Neat place and always very helpful when I've ordered from them

$50,000 is too much (5, Informative)

Faies (248065) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215830)

Some of you may recall that around January/November there were a few articles discussing the CanSat program [slashdot.org] where high school students launched soda cans to about 12,000 feet. Experiements varied from taking precise location data to flying whole sets of cans in formation on a preprogrammed path (actually, that last experiement was pulled off by several Lockheed Martin engineers getting a little practice).


Several students at my school, Leland High [ed.gov] , decided that we should undertake a challenge unlike any other. A goal was set to be the first high school to launch a satellite into outer space and have it communicate back with earth, as vaguely mentioned in a Slashback [slashdot.org] . This particular program is called Cubesat, but only consisted exclusively of universities and private corporations/citizens until we came along.


Much like the engineers in this article, we are using off-the-shelf parts to build our satellite, albeit not from Radio Shack since Radio Shacks don't seem to carry much in San Jose. The antenna we are designing exemplifies the simplicity of the components. In theory, guitar string or the wire used in braces would do the job easily. Our power system is even more simple: d-sized lithium batteries (non-rechargable) linked together.


The parts for our Cubesat will cost less than $5,000, more likely less than $1,000. We are hoping that our prototype will function properly during a test launch on an amateur rocket. After that, designing the antenna configuration (for those who are knowledgable about radio, our cube-shaped satellite forms a poor ground plane and we are also confined to a difficult broadcast frequency) and internal layout (to ensure that our satellite has a perfect center of gravity).


You can reach the webpage for the Leland Cubesat team here [lelandcubesat.org] . Be forewarned, some of the information is slightly out of date at the moment. I will do my best to fix that as soon as possible, but priorities lie elsewhere at the moment.

Re:$50,000 is too much (3, Funny)

heikkile (111814) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215889)

First offer at 5.000.000, any lower?
Ah, the gentleman in uniform, 50.000 it is!
Come on, folks, you can go lower than that! Do I hear 10.000? Anybody dare to bid 5.000? Ah, thank you! 5.000 it is, for the schoolboy in the back row.
Well, folks, this is getting interesting. Who has the guts to do it for 500? Come on, Three times they hava managed to cut the price by a factor of 10, can you do the fourth time? What, no bids?
I hate to say, but 5000 is the best bid so far. Going once! ... Going twice! Last chance, folks!

Re:$50,000 is too much (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215930)

Have you got three dollars fifty?

Re:$50,000 is too much (1)

TomK32 (411719) | more than 12 years ago | (#2216089)

you forgot the tactical nuclear weapons that are included in satellite costs.

Of course you could buy them on a second hand fair in Russia but don't forget the packing and sending costs to USA which will increase the total costs in a way that the domestic nuclear weapons are available for the same price.
And if you buy US-weapons and they fail (let's say you hit Seattle instead of Redmont) you can get enough money from the company to buy 10 new satellites.

It sounds really cheap... (1)

c.r.o.c.o (123083) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215836)

but seriously, the whole thing is going to cost far more than $50k... I've read that it costs the Russians $10mil to send a rocket into space to the International Space Station. I'm just guessing, because I don't want to dig up the data right now. But I'm going to asume that this launch by NASA is going to be roughly the same amount of money, and it's definitely not less that $1mil.

So assuming a launch cost of anywhere from $1mil to $10mil, and considering there are 4 satelites going into orbit on the same flight, the price per satelite to launch is $250k to $2.5mil. And the final price for the satelite is $300k to $2.5mil.

Definitely not the $50k they're talking about. The ideea is still very interesting, and I hope it works out. But I just had to point out something that the article was obviously avoiding.

Re:It sounds really cheap... (1)

keflex (451680) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215987)

They're talking about the cost of building the satellite, not the cost of launch... And, if they can cobble together a satellite for about 50k, then more power to them.

Durability of this thing and other issues. (1)

ryanisflyboy (202507) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215840)

I seriously doubt the durability of this thing. A year is a nice goal, but it just doesn't seem possible. With temperatures varying several hundred degrees in orbit will some cheap solar panels designed for the desert really hold up for a year? I think not. I give these guys about 5 minutes in orbit before the thing literally melts into a pile of goo. Then the NASA boys can say, "I told you so," and then go bug congress for more money. "See! Look what happens when you do it cheap!?"

Also, it might be really interesting to see Radio Shack get excited about this. If by some engineering feat it does actually work Radio Shack could become 'cool' again. Who wouldn't want to build their own satellite for $50,000? Of course everyone will want one, and that might be a BAD thing. I understand that there is a lot of space in orbit, but I remember a show on the Discovery Channel describing how difficult it is getting for the space shuttle to navigate in orbit due to the ever increasing space junk up there. NORAD is supposed to track all of it - do you think they will be sending these guys a bill to track their $50,000 satellite if it goes whacko? I would. Do we really want a whole bunch of Radio Shack satellites orbiting the earth? When was the last time you purchased something really durable and interesting at Radio Shack?

Can I finally hit reply? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215842)

I guess Slashcode 2.2 is a piece of feces? Well, just some parts of it...

The problem... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215851)

...is getting the thing into space. Launching a satellite costs something like $50,000 per kilogram. So as long as their satellite weighs less than 4 kilograms, they'll use the whole $250,000 to put the thing into space. But of course, 4 kilograms is only something like 9 pounds. So there's no way they could make it do anything useful at that weight.


Cryptnotic

Re:The problem... (1)

Graymalkin (13732) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215985)

Someone ought to be ashamed they modded you up to informative. You've just about doubled the cost per kilo for a shuttle luanch (probably the most expensive means of getting into orbit you can find). My Powerbook only weighs 5.9 pounds with a Lithium ion battery, CD-ROM, and hard disk drive in it no to mention a 14.1 inch LCD screen. Ergo about a pound of electronics can do a whole bunch. Antennas can be very lightweight (a dipole with a mesh reflector works very well) and a 1.375"x4.5" flexible solar panel that outputs 50mA at 3VDC (think an array of these) will set you back 8$ a pop from RS. Nine pounds of satellite can do a suprising amount. Besides the fact your launch figures are pretty high, on a Delta II you can put stuff into orbit for about 6300$ per pound, a Soyuz can put you into an LEO for a third of that even.

Re:The problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2216008)

No, it is getting launched for free piggybacked onto a paying customer's ride!

Re:The problem... (1)

NetPhoenix (466534) | more than 12 years ago | (#2216076)

But of course, 4 kilograms is only something like 9 pounds. So there's no way they could make it do anything useful at that weight.

Exactly how much does a useful satellite weigh?? I've heard rumors of weight affecting usefulness when talking about steaks, but not satellites. Re-tooling logic, I'm guessing my palm is worthless but I'm personally an invaluable replacement to mankind!! :)

Phoenix

Get Ready (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215862)

Trolling on Slashdot ?
--

Let me first begin to state, that Trolls do not exist.
Yes correct, and I mean not even on Slashdot.org.

Someone people say Slashdot.org is facing a crisis, with
all the trolling going on. It's even for some a fun game
to play. Both planting trolls, and also the anti-trolls
like the game. With replies showing up stating: 'Troll'.
It's like spotting Easter Eggs and saying "Great, I found another one.".

Even as most people don't seem to like good trolls, a lot of people
don't mind spotting/pointing out a troll, because I see a lot
of those replies. Second to that: good trolls, make a lot of replies.

If you don't like trolls, why bother to reply then ?
You know you're right and he or she isn't.

I think it's because;

Most people like discussing, if you don't like it than don't read
comments on Slashdot.

Responding to trolls, is basically the same
as responding to normal postings.

You either agree, or disagree with the content of a "normal" posting,
or a "troll" posting. With both postings you state why you agree/disagree
with his/her point.

Somehow we feel we need to reply to trolls. Or else most trolls would not
get any replies. Somehow we have this urge. Where does this come from ?

Because *you* cannot accept that someone else might have a completely different
point of view. And *you* have the urge to shove your opinion upon some troll,
so you get the false feeling that you did a good thing, and to justify your own
view.

ATrolls don't exist, you create them yourself.

Lessons for Motorola Iridium and Loral Globalstar (1)

securitas (411694) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215864)


Motorola's Iridium debacle [corporate-ir.net] and Loral's Globalstar fiasco [loral.com] teaches us one thing about building and launching sats.

Hire some bright students and they'll figure out a way to get it done for a fraction of the cost.

Too bad they had to find out the hard way

Their Antenna Worries me (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215876)

they discovered that the tape in a tape measure would flip into place on its own while in orbit

For one, you really can't call that a discovery...
My main concern, though, is the reliability of the tape measure in question. I know I've had several tape measures that would never regain their rigidness once bent out of shape. This has happenes with even the reliable brands that don't typically have such problems.

While I appreciate the savings, I'm sure the public would be upset with NASA if they spent the millions to launch the satelite, and the entire satelite fails, simply due to a $5 tape-meausure component. Prices are important, but you must maintain a certain level of reliability that this project obviously isn't concerned with. It's fine for this instution as they could care less if NASA wastes money on their project (they have nothing to loose if it fails, and a lot of publicity to gain if it succeeds).

The hams have been doing this for years and years! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215879)

This is nothing new... There are or were about a dozen AMSATs now orbiting the earth. In fact, I think that back in the seventies the very first one used a silver plated tape measure as an antenna.....

Re:The hams have been doing this for years and yea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2216001)

The article isn't clear about this, but this is a radio amateur satellite. Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, the creator of APRS, is the other professor involved.

So if they DIDN'T buy the parts at Radio Shack... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215881)

Since Radio Shack's prices are so inflated, they could build the thing for $5000 if they got the parts wholesale or just shopped around a bit more.

cheap satelite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215883)

now how long will this thing actually function on these radioshack parts.

SlashLite (1)

Menteb (161089) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215884)

Maybe if OSDN has the money, Slashdot could have it's own satellite in space. Now that would be something for nerds!

Re:SlashLite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215898)

Maybe if OSDN has the money, they can get Slashdot working before sending objects hurtling into space at escape velocity. If they can't master mod_perl how can you trust them with explosives!

Re:SlashLite (1)

Menteb (161089) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215907)

Oh just you wait! If slashdot get's a satellite... soon M$ will get a massage: "All your bases are belong to us"!!!
By the way, you can download the Slashdot code... go for it, if you master mod_perl that good!

Re:SlashLite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215973)

call me crazy, but I DAMN sure wouldn't give M$ any kinda massage, period.

Re:SlashLite (1)

TomK32 (411719) | more than 12 years ago | (#2216074)

I know a cool slogan for that satellite:

slashdot - more than just a dot in the sky

penis (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215914)

36530 19986 [-------mmmmm--------.com] [-------mmmmm--------.com]
72325 40148 [-----mm-f---mm------.com] [-----mm-f---mm------.com]
46154 73047 [----m---------m-----.com] [----m---------m-----.com]
88209 27219 [---m----------im----.com] [---m----------im----.com]
29544 39488 [---m-----------im---.com] [---m-----------im---.com]
81424 37215 [---m------------m---.com] [---m------------m---.com]
31783 60329 [---m-----------i-m--.com] [---m-----------i-m--.com]
39592 67465 [---m---m------i-im--.com] [---m---m------i-im--.com]
70747 44986 [---m--mmmm-----iim--.com] [---m--mmmm-----iim--.com]
22331 23172 [----mmmmmmmmmmiim---.com] [----mmmmmmmmmmiim---.com]
74603 64260 [---m--imi-----mmm---.com] [---m--imi-----mmm---.com]
50496 25938 [---m---i------i-m---.com] [---m---i------i-m---.com]
59598 25263 [---m-----------im---.com] [---m-----------im---.com]
26192 25320 [---m----------i-m---.com] [---m----------i-m---.com]
27836 54217 [---m----i------im---.com] [---m----i------im---.com]
40729 26853 [----m---i-----i-im--.com] [----m---i-----i-im--.com]
99714 88054 [----m---i------iim--.com] [----m---i------iim--.com]
32718 44974 [----m----------iim--.com] [----m----------iim--.com]
90720 10772 [----m----------iim--.com] [----m----------iim--.com]
53487 14283 [----m---------i-im--.com] [----m---------i-im--.com]
37269 95468 [----m----------i-m--.com] [----m----------i-m--.com]
12015 27585 [----m----------iim--.com] [----m----------iim--.com]
71278 27996 [----m---i-----i-im--.com] [----m---i-----i-im--.com]
66562 54149 [----m---i------im---.com] [----m---i------im---.com]
68145 53177 [----m---------i-m---.com] [----m---------i-m---.com]
85179 46608 [----m----------im---.com] [----m----------im---.com]
77847 89516 [---m----------iim---.com] [---m----------iim---.com]
62308 39964 [---m-----------im---.com] [---m-----------im---.com]
73825 83339 [---m----------i-m---.com] [---m----------i-m---.com]
93624 71112 [---m----------iim---.com] [---m----------iim---.com]
29348 58316 [---m-----------im---.com] [---m-----------im---.com]
86347 62327 [---m----------i-m---.com] [---m----------i-m---.com]
26047 71279 [---m-----------im---.com] [---m-----------im---.com]
57172 37157 [---m----------iim---.com] [---m----------iim---.com]
54308 60295 [---m-----------im---.com] [---m-----------im---.com]
25034 92159 [---m--i-------i-m---.com] [---m--i-------i-m---.com]
20200 65919 [---m--i--------im---.com] [---m--i--------im---.com]
80886 42904 [---m--mi-------im---.com] [---m--mi-------im---.com]
68639 91571 [---m-mmmi-------im--.com] [---m-mmmi-------im--.com]
91666 57702 [--m--m-mi------iim--.com] [--m--m-mi------iim--.com]
27471 83962 [mm---mmi-i----i-i-m-.com] [mm---mmi-i----i-i-m-.com]
70662 37483 [-----m------------m-.com] [-----m------------m-.com]
62156 19533 [-----i-------------m.com] [-----i-------------m.com]
41443 45257 [i-------i---i---i--m.com] [i-------i---i---i--m.com]
85747 37813 [-i--i--i----i----i--.com] [-i--i--i----i----i--.com]
67557 83614 [-i--m-----------i-i-.com] [-i--m-----------i-i-.com]
13852 67652 [i--m-----i---i-i--i-.com] [i--m-----i---i-i--i-.com]
85176 83679 [i--m-i--i-i--i----i-.com] [i--m-i--i-i--i----i-.com]
29259 57266 [i--m-i-i--i-i----i--.com] [i--m-i-i--i-i----i--.com]
30879 23972 [-i-m-i-i---i-i------.com] [-i-m-i-i---i-i------.com]
65923 74026 [-i-m--i---i---i--i-i.com] [-i-m--i---i---i--i-i.com]
81756 52615 [i-i-m-i----i-----iim.com] [i-i-m-i----i-----iim.com]
16986 34931 [i---m--i----ii--iiim.com] [i---m--i----ii--iiim.com]
60026 81302 [i--imm--i------iiim-.com] [i--imm--i------iiim-.com]
56540 43696 [-iim--mm---iiiiimm--.com] [-iim--mm---iiiiimm--.com]
69357 74500 [mmm-----mmmmmmmm----.com] [mmm-----mmmmmmmm----.com]

Progress! (1)

jTurbo (35048) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215916)

This I call progress. I am convinced that the next generation mainstream satelites will use tape measure antennas, not actual tape measures but especially crafted satelite antenna tape. It will sell for say 10x what these guys spent on theirs but it will still be cheaper than motorized deployment.

Now, if only we could slash launch cost by as much

Re:Progress! ANTENNA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215968)

This kind of antenna was invented by "AMSAT" and successfully used on many of their satellites..
However, this kind of tape measure is only used for simple whip antennas or dipols for omnidirectional radiation...
You can't compare this with more complex antennas..
However, look on the AMSAT OSCAR-40 Satellite at www.amsat.org They have an antenna farm with many different antennas, dish, helix etc.. all homebrew for a fraction of a price of a commercial space proofen antenna - and it works!!!
By the way: AMSAT is an educational scientific organisation worldwide, which build almost 40 satellites in the last 30 years which only cost a fraction of commercial satellites..
Some of these satellites are still working even
after 10 years...

howdy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2215917)

36530 19986 [-------mmmmm--------.com] [-------mmmmm--------.com]
72325 40148 [-----mm-f---mm------.com] [-----mm-f---mm------.com]
46154 73047 [----m---------m-----.com] [----m---------m-----.com]
88209 27219 [---m----------im----.com] [---m----------im----.com]
29544 39488 [---m-----------im---.com] [---m-----------im---.com]
81424 37215 [---m------------m---.com] [---m------------m---.com]
31783 60329 [---m-----------i-m--.com] [---m-----------i-m--.com]
39592 67465 [---m---m------i-im--.com] [---m---m------i-im--.com]
70747 44986 [---m--mmmm-----iim--.com] [---m--mmmm-----iim--.com]
22331 23172 [----mmmmmmmmmmiim---.com] [----mmmmmmmmmmiim---.com]
74603 64260 [---m--imi-----mmm---.com] [---m--imi-----mmm---.com]
50496 25938 [---m---i------i-m---.com] [---m---i------i-m---.com]
59598 25263 [---m-----------im---.com] [---m-----------im---.com]
26192 25320 [---m----------i-m---.com] [---m----------i-m---.com]
27836 54217 [---m----i------im---.com] [---m----i------im---.com]
40729 26853 [----m---i-----i-im--.com] [----m---i-----i-im--.com]
99714 88054 [----m---i------iim--.com] [----m---i------iim--.com]
32718 44974 [----m----------iim--.com] [----m----------iim--.com]
90720 10772 [----m----------iim--.com] [----m----------iim--.com]
53487 14283 [----m---------i-im--.com] [----m---------i-im--.com]
37269 95468 [----m----------i-m--.com] [----m----------i-m--.com]
12015 27585 [----m----------iim--.com] [----m----------iim--.com]
71278 27996 [----m---i-----i-im--.com] [----m---i-----i-im--.com]
66562 54149 [----m---i------im---.com] [----m---i------im---.com]
68145 53177 [----m---------i-m---.com] [----m---------i-m---.com]
85179 46608 [----m----------im---.com] [----m----------im---.com]
77847 89516 [---m----------iim---.com] [---m----------iim---.com]
62308 39964 [---m-----------im---.com] [---m-----------im---.com]
73825 83339 [---m----------i-m---.com] [---m----------i-m---.com]
93624 71112 [---m----------iim---.com] [---m----------iim---.com]
29348 58316 [---m-----------im---.com] [---m-----------im---.com]
86347 62327 [---m----------i-m---.com] [---m----------i-m---.com]
26047 71279 [---m-----------im---.com] [---m-----------im---.com]
57172 37157 [---m----------iim---.com] [---m----------iim---.com]
54308 60295 [---m-----------im---.com] [---m-----------im---.com]
25034 92159 [---m--i-------i-m---.com] [---m--i-------i-m---.com]
20200 65919 [---m--i--------im---.com] [---m--i--------im---.com]
80886 42904 [---m--mi-------im---.com] [---m--mi-------im---.com]
68639 91571 [---m-mmmi-------im--.com] [---m-mmmi-------im--.com]
91666 57702 [--m--m-mi------iim--.com] [--m--m-mi------iim--.com]
27471 83962 [mm---mmi-i----i-i-m-.com] [mm---mmi-i----i-i-m-.com]
70662 37483 [-----m------------m-.com] [-----m------------m-.com]
62156 19533 [-----i-------------m.com] [-----i-------------m.com]
41443 45257 [i-------i---i---i--m.com] [i-------i---i---i--m.com]
85747 37813 [-i--i--i----i----i--.com] [-i--i--i----i----i--.com]
67557 83614 [-i--m-----------i-i-.com] [-i--m-----------i-i-.com]
13852 67652 [i--m-----i---i-i--i-.com] [i--m-----i---i-i--i-.com]
85176 83679 [i--m-i--i-i--i----i-.com] [i--m-i--i-i--i----i-.com]
29259 57266 [i--m-i-i--i-i----i--.com] [i--m-i-i--i-i----i--.com]
30879 23972 [-i-m-i-i---i-i------.com] [-i-m-i-i---i-i------.com]
65923 74026 [-i-m--i---i---i--i-i.com] [-i-m--i---i---i--i-i.com]
81756 52615 [i-i-m-i----i-----iim.com] [i-i-m-i----i-----iim.com]
16986 34931 [i---m--i----ii--iiim.com] [i---m--i----ii--iiim.com]
60026 81302 [i--imm--i------iiim-.com] [i--imm--i------iiim-.com]
56540 43696 [-iim--mm---iiiiimm--.com] [-iim--mm---iiiiimm--.com]
69357 74500 [mmm-----mmmmmmmm----.com] [mmm-----mmmmmmmm----.com]

Man cut them some slack! (3, Insightful)

baptiste (256004) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215972)

I can't believe that /.ers are being so negative about this! Cut them some slack! I think its a really neat project. All I see is "It'll never last/work" or "What about the launch costs"

Hell, I wish them the best of luck. I hope the satellite lasts them 5 years instead of one. The idea here ISN'T making satellites out of cheap parts, its coming up with less expensive ways to accomplish the tasks needed to operate a saltellite. Sure using a tape measure for an antenna sounds hokey, but maybe it'll give the professionals some ideas for the future (gee antennas that unroll on their own instead of requriing some advanced deployment system that only gets used once) etc.

For as much as folks bitch about the gov't here, I think if a few students decide to show that a satellite CAN be constructed cheaply - more power to them. The information they gather will be very useful. Yes, sure, the launch costs aren't part of the $50K, but that wasn't part of the equation. Most satellites themselves WITHOUT launch costs are millions and millions of dollars. Nobody said they could launch it and build it for < $50K. So they hitch a ride on a rocket going up anyway. Remember, this thing is pretty small and it probably is tucked into the payload bay where a normal size satellite wouldn't fit.

But even if it isn't. I'd think geeks like us would be proud that some students got laughed at when applying for the grant and managed to pull it off through some everyday common sense and ingenuity. I say good luck and I hope everything works as planned!

Re:Man cut them some slack! (1)

keflex (451680) | more than 12 years ago | (#2216011)

Believe me, unless this satellite had some sort of open source software or had a big banner that said "Screw M$!!!" on the side, these narrow-sighted fools wouldn't care less.

Re:Man cut them some slack! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2216115)

I can't believe that /.ers are being so negative about this! Cut them some slack!

Well, I don't know about other slashdotter's, but it's the gushing "gee-whizz, isn't this wonderful" attitude of the submission. It's not like it hasn't been done before [amsat.org] , again [amsat-dl.org] , again [amsat.org] , and again [amsat.org] .

... (1)

keflex (451680) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215993)

I swear, most of you people are idiots. As soon as someone brings up such an interesting feat such as this one, people are quick to point at all the flaws. Well, I would like to see you idiots build a satellite for even triple the cost. Cripes, they do something great as an undergraduate project and all you idiots can see are the negatives. Morons.

Re:... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2216114)

I've built at least 10 of them, so fuck off.
All you can do is spew out rhetoric you kike!

Quality vs Price (1)

CrackersnSoup (517698) | more than 12 years ago | (#2215995)

Some of you people are insane. Your going off about how the sat will fail due to the fact that it dindt cost $100 million. I saw many people point to low cost failure's. Anyone care to link of the high cost one's?? What was that sat that was lost while landing on Mars? Anyone happen to have links to the ARRL's sat's that were put up in the 70's and 80's??? they were low cost and ran for . One had a salad bowl for a antenna, they didnt even BUY it.

Now let me show my insanity, If we had more creative people like this i'd bet you even money we could be on Mars, with a fuctioning colony before 2010. Anyone wanna ask Mr Bill if he would like is own planet? (BTW, any one happen to have the link to the space colonizing & mining laws?? I seam to have lost it)

Crackers`n`Soup

See for yourself how long it will work! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2216041)

This satellite is designed to retransmit data from amateur radio stations using APRS, Automatic Position Reporting System.

There is a site which stores all these and produces both single reports and summary pages. For example, here is the page for reports re-transmitted by the International Space Station:

http://www.ariss.net [ariss.net]

(presently the amateur equipment abord ISS is turned off, so there is no data from the last few days).

When PCSat is operational, there will be a similar page available for the output from this satellite. I don't have the URL yet, but look at the main page for the database for it once it is available:

http://www.findu.com [findu.com]

Steve Dimse K4HG

And the key to cutting the cost would be .. (2, Funny)

ananke (8417) | more than 12 years ago | (#2216056)

ducktape. Yes folks, the only thing that will survive the nuclear war besides coakroaches. Personally, I don't think there has been a project yet, that could have not been improved or fixed by ducktape. No need for those fancy bolts, plates, etc. The 50k$ satellite will use ducktape.

Re:And the key to cutting the cost would be .. (1)

CurlyG (8268) | more than 12 years ago | (#2216098)

It's called duct tape. Duck tape would just be cruel...

-Sam

Duct tape = the Force (2, Funny)

not-quite-rite (232445) | more than 12 years ago | (#2216137)

It has a light side, a dark side and holds the universe together.

Fixes bloody well everything!

UOSat got there first ... (5, Informative)

charlie (1328) | more than 12 years ago | (#2216083)

The Baltimore Sun didn't do their research very well -- the University of Surrey, in England, has been doing exactly this since the mid-EIGHTIES, with their UoSAT series of minisatellites.

UoSAT-1, if I remember correctly (details are sparse on the net) was build on a budget of 60,000 as a student project and piggybacked into orbit on an Ariane-4 comsat launch. A number of subsequent UoSATs are part of the OSCAR series of radio amateur satellites, and a commercial spin-off of the University, SSTL (Surrey Satellite Technology Limited) build and sell minisats in the 200-500Kg rangefor commercial purchasers; see, for example, this report [astronomynow.com] of the launch of UoSAT-12 (from 1999).

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