A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
About this project
The Cosmoneer Proto is the first hackable robotic spacecraft platform to use off the shelf components and the widely accepted Arduino interface to provide a fun, learning space-like environment. Space doesn't get any closer than this! You can program and interact with basic spacecraft systems consisting of Command & Control, Power, Attitude Control and Communications all in a simulated zero gravity environment.
Learn how spacecraft subsystems work
Experience spacecraft design challenges
Learn spacecraft guidance & navigation
Learn how to apply robotics at the spacecraft level
Be your own mission control
Whether for your mad scientist lab or a classroom or a makerspace, the Cosmoneer bridges the gap between your spacecraft dreams and real hands on hardware. See the second video below for a detailed explanation of how it works.
- Makers and Space Enthusiasts who are interested in staking a claim in advancing access to space and space related simulators.
- Students and Schools that are interested in spacecraft, but want something that goes far beyond the electronics and sensor side of currently available spacecraft educational tools, including cubesat offerings.
The Cosmoneer represents high-tech spacecraft technology in a highly affordable hobby scale size. Nothing else like it exists today.
Think about it: there is no currently available affordable tool for enthusiasts or students to take an active role in regards to access to space or spacecraft development.
As a civilization, we are going to space. Question is, how do we get the experience needed to get there? How are we going to develop and test them before we send them there?
Because the Cosmoneer Proto is Open Source, we need YOU! We need your input not only for design considerations (i.e.- what you expect from a desktop spacecraft simulator), we need your involvement! Writing code, building 3D models, and most important of all, spreading the word that the Cosmoneer is available and is filling a void that has existed for far too long.
And yes, just to confirm, your support will also enable us to buy parts in bulk, refine design and assembly processes, and perfect the end-user product.
When we couldn't afford to send a real satellite into space, we set out to design a desktop spacecraft from low cost materials that mimics nearly every aspect of a real spacecraft and the challenges and risks that come with it, but without the high cost and disappointment when a failure occurs.
The Proto is housed in a spherical volume instead of a cube. This makes it possible for future versions to simulate full three degrees of freedom (3DOF). However, its dimensions make it possible to deploy the Cosmoneer within the space-faring cubesat standard, should you pursue spaceflight.
The Cosmoneer Proto consists of these basic spacecraft systems: Command & Control, Power, Attitude Control and Communications using low cost components, 3D printing, Open Source Hardware and Software. All of these systems are represented in the diagram below, using as few components as possible.
Building upon the inertial guidance and infrared communications, users can team up and experience spacecraft constellations via data relay races and other spacecraft mission challenges. We can't wait to see what the user community comes up with!
In the same manner that spacecraft are inaccessible once they are launched, the Cosmoneer is designed to be hands off while providing as real as possible facsimile of a spacecraft in space.
Wireless induction power closely imitates solar power, suspension in the yaw axis simulates zero gravity and the string provides a low friction environment. The micro controller acts as a CPU, controlling other components and systems programmatically.
Attitude control is achieved via heading measurements from a compass and a CMG (Control Moment Gyro) that provides inertia and torque, or the ability to turn the Cosmoneer without touching anything, imitating the same systems used on the International Space Station. The CMG's torque output is controlled by Pulse Width Modulation to a servo and brushless DC Motor speed controller.
Line-of-sight communications is achieved via infrared serial communications, which requires a degree of pointing accuracy and repeatability. Leveraging a proven protocol based on infrared, called Serial IrDa, the complexities of establishing a reliable link are offloaded to a chip that manages the connection. By using infrared very little power is used to maintain communications.
We've packed quite a bit into this simple, hackable design. We used portions of the main circuit board as attachment points for the two front support PCBs, should you choose to add sensors or other electronics.
Using the Arduino Application, you can program your Cosmoneer Proto to execute many spacecraft missions right on your desktop!
Want to do more with a Cosmoneer Proto? Simply download the 3D design files, schematics or other tools required to help you modify them to suit your project/mission needs. We've got all of our source files available on GitHub and a discussion forum for sharing of ideas, challenges and breakthroughs waiting for you!
We strove to keep the rewards simple and low cost. We're broken the tiers down into Assembled and non-Assembled kits. We can ship the unassembled kits out sooner because there is less work involved. If you want your kit sooner, or you like the satisfaction of knowing that you put it all together, then the unassembled kit is for you! Your kit will come pre-installed with the latest demonstration code available at the time of shipping, and will contain a parts bundle similar to the picture below, with very few solder joints required.
All kits (Assembled or unassembled) include the following parts:
Zero-G Power Stand
Hanger Arm (Upper & Lower sections, two connecting clips)
Two front supports
Hanger support ring
Three zip ties
Inductive Power TX board, coil & female power socket (with nut)
Serial IrDa breakout board, 6pin male header, 6pin 90deg male header
USB cable & FTDI programming board
If you'd rather unbox you're Cosmoneer and get right to it, then an assembled kit is the one for you! Your Cosmoneer Proto will come fully assembled and preprogrammed, ready to be powered up from within its shell.
If you like "limited editions", then you'll love the preassembled, signed and numbered, Cosmoneer Proto - Gold Edition.
The Gold Edition includes foiled hardware to more closely resemble actual spacecraft protective blanketing.
If you are an educator or a MakerSpace that wants to add a collection of Cosmoneers to your toolbox, then the 5-pack is your ticket to the best reward! It comes with five preassembled Cosmoneers, six Serial IrDa breakout boards and one spare Control Moment Gyro. This pack is our way of giving back to the educational community!
Andrew Reed was born and raised in Chattanooga, TN and then as a teen moved and lived in Florida until he moved to Maryland in December of 2015. He has always been a space dreamer since early childhood and is experienced in PCB mfg/design, schematics, CNC, 3D CAD, coding, db design, aerospace mfg, project mgmt and 3D printing. In his free time, he enjoys Xbox, playing his Djembe, electronic music and working with computers and electronics.
We've come to realize that a project of this magnitude can't be done in a vacuum. Space is hard, and simulating it is nearly as difficult. But the rewards of designing a desktop spacecraft simulator is something we wanted to share with the world. So here we are. If you'd like to review the current files, you'll find them here:
We've come a long way from the initial designs we built. We've also built and obtained quite a few pieces of equipment to assist with manufacture and assembly of the current design, but will need more equipment or modifications to existing equipment to streamline the current setup.
In October of 2014, we were one of ten exhibiting finalists in the Innovation Awards business plan competition presented by Innovation Coast, Space Florida.Gov and Florida SBDC.
We have all the tools in place for ultra-small production runs, but believe that more is needed when this campaign goes public.
So, what's the hold up? You! The Cosmoneer is a ground breaking gadget that needs users like you who want to be a part of where it is going.
Our initial funding goal is $12,000. This will allow us to do the following:
Productionize the 1DOF Cosmoneer Proto kit
Reduce the cost for students and teachers by purchasing components in mass quantity
Establish a strong online presence with forum based support and educational resources
Produce a professional explainer video
Our vision and commitment for the Cosmoneer goes far beyond this Kickstarter campaign. Our stretch goals reflect our continued dedication. Your further support will allow us to expand our focus on the following:
We want to add Orbital Simulation to the Cosmoneer's power stand. This will require the addition of a micro controller, a servo and some support circuitry. This simple modification will add immeasurable to the potential educational applications. In addition, the designs will be publicly "fleshed out", meaning hackers and makers can contribute to the design every step of the way!
We also want to develop a full 3DOF Cosmoneer we call the Cosmoneer Evolution. Staying true to our "first of it's kind", The Cosmoneer Evolution will usher in a whole new level of student interaction, as well as a whole host of other uses for a desktop 3DOF experience. This will require the following:
A redesign of the internal structures and PCBs to allow for a robotic self-balancing center-of-gravity weight system.
More CMGs, a dedicated attitude controller and complex steering code.
A water based bearing surface to maintain a low friction environment.
A suitable acrylic shell that will seal the Cosmoneer and provide an ideal bearing surface.
A super capacitor power storage solution to support the thousands of charge and discharge cycles.
We're very excited to bring our project to you. We hope you can see from the timeline below that we're in this for the long haul. Come grow with us and let your voice be heard as we develop products that revolutionize DIY space. Your funding will go towards reaching the goals we have set forth above.
If you've read down this far and want more, you might be interested in a documented, picture laden history of the very beginnings of the Cosmoneer. Please visit the archived page from the original posts that captured it's birth, found here: eccmakers/node/378 (Link takes you to archive.org)
Risks and challenges
We have been working on this project for quite some time and have nailed down every aspect of the current design for a minimum viable product. Some parts we have already purchased in bulk (including the Gyro motors) and would only need to procure the more expensive components. We know lead times and are very confident we won't have any delays.
We know how long it takes to 3D print the parts required and have numerous local sources that can support printing in larger volumes if injection molding is not cost advantageous, based on the number of orders we receive.
We've built enough units by hand to know how long it takes to assemble a complete unit and which parts need modifications in their manufacturing in order to streamline the assembly process. We're prepared to offload things such as PCB assembly and are even prepared to develop instructions so you, the end user, can assemble the structural components of your Cosmoneer Proto yourself.
Having said that, we are aware that sometimes unanticipated things do happen. There's risk, but we'll be doing everything we can to stay on top of things so it doesn't happen. Here's some potential risks so you know what we're doing to minimize those risks:
Our initial prototypes were mostly hand soldered, with one batch being reflowed. We've spec'd our own reflow oven and are prepared to keep assembly in house if orders don't reach levels that require us to outsource that stage of mfg.
We printed our first runs in PLA and already have some ABS in stock. We want to migrate to injection molding, but are prepared to continue to print parts until part volumes dictate outsourcing.
We have no idea how successful this campaign will be. We've been told that a video dramatically improves the success rate of a campaign, so we'll see. Otherwise, we're confident that we can support a larger volume of orders. Before moving from Florida, we talked with a USA based assembly company that also had warehouse facilities and a shipping department... We're not large enough to handle the potential volume this campaign might generate, but this facility is completely capable, and being based in the USA means there is no frustrating delays due to dealing with overseas suppliers.
In short, we're confident we've got enough in place to mitigate risk and deliver your rewards to you on time.
You want to be a Cosmoneer and show your support, we'll add your name to our webpage list of Cosomoneer Proto supporters. In addition, we'll email you a sci-fi novelette written by the founder himself.
So, you want to show your support for open space access and more realistic tools to teach space exploration? Choose this reward to receive a 3D printed, fully assembled, Gold edition Cosmoneer Proto. These are hand foiled, with the gold tone dash panel to add to the spacecraft realism. Signed and numbered, we'll deliver these before Christmas.
Teach students about spacecraft and spacecraft constellations with this Teacher 5 pack! Along with this kit, we'll send you the curriculum we're developing for experiments intended for students from around 5th grade and up! We'll even throw in a serial infrared breakout board and a spare CMG!
This kit is great for school teachers and maker/hacker spaces