About this project
Update: We are proud to have support from the UK's first Astronaut Major Tim Peake
PocketQubes are tiny satellites which are small enough to fit in your Pocket. They are 5cm cubes and you can stack them up to create larger satellites, for example 1.5 PocketQubes or 1.5p and 2.5p. Why go small? They are cheapest fully functional class of satellite to launch.
The standard was proposed by Professor Bob Twiggs, creator of the revolutionary Cubesat form factor and voted as one of 10 space professionals "That made a Difference in Space" (The other two selected from the United States were Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and the US President, Barack Obama).
At the end of November the first 4 PocketQubes will be launched into Orbit from Russia! There will be more going next year.
This Kickstarter is focused upon structures, the building blocks of any satellite. We want to enable as many teams as possible to start designing, building and launching their own satellite today!!
That is why we are offering you a chance to support the NewSpace revolution, with T-Shirts, 3D Printed Models and Aluminium Structures for your first satellite project!
PocketQubes are small, see chart below. Small satellites allow for rapid innovation and technological improvement at a faster rate.
Who should build one and why?
Universities: Universities could afford to Design, Build and Launch a real satellite. Can students get their science experiment to Space before they graduate? With PocketQube they can!
Makerspace's: Fablab's choosing PocketQube could be the breeding ground for the next generation of satellite engineers. Could a small team develop novel technologies for propulsion, communication or electronics?
DIY / Hobbyists / Amateurs groups: We have hobbyists Radio Controlled cars, planes, helicopters, boats and drones. Why should Satellites be excluded?
Ham Radio enthusiasts: They currently build small satellites, could they get more bang for their buck doing a PocketQube?
Commercial opportunities: Could a constellation of 100+ PocketQubes do tasks current satellites just can't do because of cost, capability and risk?
Potential applications include: Network Nodes, Sensor Systems, Satellite Constellations, Inexpensive Redundant Spatially Organized Earth Remote Sensing Platforms.
To reiterate, we are NOT offering PocketQube launches on this Kickstarter project, although we have some suggestions which may be useful.
Getting to Orbit is hard and has predominantly been only possible by major national governments. Finding solutions to the launch problem is not easy, but there has been progress in this regard by the Italian company GAUSS Team. They have brokered launch opportunities on the Russian Dnepr rocket, a converted ICBM, now used to transport commercial and educational satellites to Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
The Dnepr has had 17 successful flights to date and is operated by ISC Kosmotras in a joint venture between Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. GAUSS are also actively negotiating opportunities on other vehicles which will help the PocketQube standard establish itself.
Here is a video of a recent Dnepr-1 launch success, last month lifting a South Korean satellite into Orbit. The PocketQube launch is the next flight in line.
We are developing the first commercial structures (COTS) you can buy, crucial for these small satellites to gain traction outside academia. They are compatible with the PocketQube deployer (see below).
The PocketQube Deployer MR-FOD (Morehead Rome - Femto satellite Orbital Deployer) is essentially a jack-in-the-box system for deploying PocketQube's and has already flown on EduSat mission. See video below:
The Edusat satellite contained the MR-Fod deployer, this video is a time lapse of its integration into the fairing prior to launch. The deployer was empty on EduSat, but worked as planned.
The first 4 PocketQubes are scheduled to be launched at the end of November from Russia on a Dnepr-1 launch vehicle. We have profiled one of them below:
For more information on this teams project can be found:
Reward - DISPLAY MODEL ONLY
Reward - Solid Wall Aluminium Structure with Coating (Prototype Pictured)
£25 - Very Early Bird - T-shirt 'Homebrew Satellite Builder'
£30 - Early Bird - T-shirt 'Homebrew Satellite Builder'
£65 - Display 3D Printed Model PocketQube
£349 - Very Early Bird - 1P PocketQube Structures (Solid Wall)
£399 - Early Bird - 1P PocketQube Structures (Solid Wall)
£449 - Very Early Bird - 1.5P PocketQube Structures (Solid Wall)
£499 - Early Bird - 1.5P PocketQube Structures (Solid Wall)
£549 - Very Early Bird - 2.5P PocketQube Structures (Solid Wall)
£599 - Early Bird - 2.5P PocketQube Structures (Solid Wall)
£1,345 - Early Bird - Constellation, 1P + 1.5P + 2.5P Structures
£1,495 - Constellation, 1P + 1.5P + 2.5P Structures
If we reach our goal our targets for delivery will be:
T-Shirts 14th of December 2013 (Xmas Delivery)
3D Printed Models 14th of December 2013 (Xmas Delivery)
Aluminium Models February 2014 - First batch exclusive to KS supporters
PocketQube Shop is a small startup based in Glasgow, Scotland. We believe small satellites are on the cusp of a major breakthrough much the like personal computers were in the late 70's/early 80's.
We believe space (Orbit) should be open to all. We want to facilitate as many PocketQube builders as possible! We have contacts with all the PocketQube builders in the world and see huge potential in lowering the barriers to entry for budding 'Homebrew Satellite Builders'.
Our production run of structures will be manufactured by external suppliers, as well as some in-house processes. We have access to four 3D printers in house and work with trusted external suppliers for certain larger quantity jobs.
Our HQ, 'The MAKlab' recently featured in the 'Google Global Impact Award' competition:
Risks and challenges
We have a strong relationship with our machinist and our t-shirt manufacturer. We don't foresee many risks unless they go out of business. In this event we have backup suppliers in place. All 3D printing can be done in house and we have printer redundancy.
We won't take pledges lightly. Each pledge is helping us to keep doing what we love, but more than that, it is a gesture of faith in our vision.
No. PocketQubes will be launched into a low orbit, meaning they will rapidly decay and burn up in the Earth's atmosphere. PocketQubes could actually be one of the solutions to the problem.
We know a few people in the space industry who have great de-orbit technology but just cannot figure out how to get it flown. Either it is too expensive or they don’t know the right people or some other reason.
Many great de-orbit ideas stay just that, ideas. The labs are full of super-innovative ways to clean up the junk, but maybe flying the concepts on a PocketQube would be the best proof of concept available.
If it works, scale it up. It is better to fly a Sputnik, than to build a hubble that never flies.
It is PocketQube. The up until last year, the standard was referred to as ‘PocketQub’, but it was changed by Prof Bob Twiggs to 'PocketQube'.
Currently yes, but there are two more vehicles coming online in the next year as we understand it. We have contacts throughout the secondary payload industry and if there is the demand, more vehicles will start carrying PocketQubes. It is a chicken and egg problem. We need teams build in order to justify more capacity.
Cubesat are referred to in U(nits), for example 1U or 2U. In order to avoid confusion, referring the size of the satellite to P(ocketqubes) i.e. 1P or 1.5 P, seems to be the best solution.
This is still a grey area. The short answer is we don’t know. We are not experts in computing standards and our early research attempts at finding one, we have not turned up any leads. If anyone knows a form factor which will fit a 5 cm square then we would love to know.
It really needs to be stackable and scalable much like the internals of Cubesats.
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