Crowdfunded nanosatellites unleashed in orbit
Alan Boyle, Science Editor NBC News
Posted: Nov. 19, 2013
Two tiny satellites supported by Kickstarter campaigns were kicked out into orbit from the International Space Station on Tuesday, beginning what’s expected to be a months-long citizen science mission.
NanoSatisfi’s ArduSat 1 and ArduSat X nanosatellites were deployed by a Japanese-built, spring-loaded launcher attached to the space station. A Vietnamese-built nanosat called PicoDragon was sent out as well. All three satellites were built to CubeSat specifications, 4 inches (10 centimeters) on each side, and delivered to the station in August aboard an unmanned Japanese cargo ship.
The ArduSats were funded in part by a Kickstarter crowdfunding effort that raised more than $100,000. NanoSatisfi’s venture-capital backers kicked in an additional $1 million-plus to get the project off the ground. Each CubeSat costs on the order of $200,000 to build.