Sunday, June 24, 2012

NanoSatisfi, ArduSat, and Prizes

ArduSat - run your experiment in space for a week - Space for All

As the linked article explains, company NanoSatisfi wants to build and launch a cubesat called ArduSat using funding from a Kickstarter project.  ArduSat would house a variety of small sensors and experiments, including those from some of the Kickstarter contributors.  There are a number of prize angles on this story, which I'll explain in good time.  Before that, though, I should note that currently $43,305 has been pledged out of a goal of $35,000.  In this case the goal is to add a second cube to the satellite, increasing its capabilities.  Additional goals they mention that also depend on funding include a higher altitude orbit enabling a longer mission and a third cube, making it a 3U or triple cubesat.  However, for now they are concentrating on that second cube.  One of the Kickstarter "Updates" has more on this: 

And now you are inspiring us to dream just a little bigger.

We want to build you a double sized ArduSat, with more power (always good), a much better camera and pointing accuracy for better pictures, and more sensors (we’ve seen some amazing suggestions, keep them coming!) for even better experiments. Or, we could even look into giving you two single-sized ArduSats so you can build communication experiments or games between the two satellites.

But for that to happen, we have to reach at least $75,000. In just three more weeks! This is a very short time but we believe that with your help we can make this happen. If you want a larger, more capable ArduSat – and we seriously hope you do – reach out to your local schools, art centers, universities, Hacker-centers and DIY-stores. Share your ArduSat story. Pass on your inspiration. Bring them into the ArduSat community and together we can build the most amazing open source satellite ever.

I'll let the Kickstarter page explain some of the prize aspects of their effort: 

Besides being first in line to use the satellite when it goes online (and the obvious bragging rights that come with it!), backers will also have the opportunity to propose additional sensors to include in the payload. Our mass budget currently allows for approximately 5 additional sensors, and we’re holding a voting competition for the best ideas.

Discover Magazine is also holding a competition for the most innovative experiment or application for ArduSat with a grand prize worth $1500 (for details see our extensive FAQ section at the bottom).

Here is a Discover Magazine post on this:

CONTEST: We Want You To Send an Experiment to Space. We’ll Give You $1500 To Do It. - Discover Magazine 80 Beats

One of the ideas that the developers suggested is a competition: 

ENTERTAINMENT: Photography Competition - See who among your friends can snap the coolest/most interesting picture from space. The eye of a hurricane, sunrise over the Indian ocean, even aurora from space – see what marvels you can capture!

The Kickstarter page includes the following updates (among others):

Update #1: Nanosatisfi makes finals of $100,000 NASA Business Plan Competition

Update #5: ArduSat will be tested in the stratosphere by Team Prometheus! - As you probably know, Team Prometheus has been active in quite a few space prize competitions.  Here are some details about this announcement: 

The first flight, scheduled for late September, will carry the payload prototype and flight computer to an altitude of 100,000 feet (roughly 30 km) using a balloon, and will allow for testing of the payload and sensor performance, onboard data handling protocols, and communication systems.

The second flight, scheduled for October, will launch a new payload prototype and flight computer to an altitude of roughly 40 miles (64 kilometres) atop a balloon-launched rocket.

Here's the NanoSatisfi twitter account.