Arduino-based satellites for the homebrew masses

Arduino boards are used to power a wide range of electronic designs and DIY hobbyist creations including robots, desk lamps, environmental sensors, 3D printers and even satellites.

Indeed, the San Francisco-based Nanosatisfi is currently prepping two Arduino-powered satellites (ArduSat) for launch on an unmanned HII-B rocket, which Kickstarter backers have “rented” to snap pictures, broadcast a message or conduct experiments, including monitoring radioactivity levels generated by space phenomena such as sun storms and background activity.

According to Nanosatisfi CEO Peter Platzer, Arduino technology is key to the company’s philosophy.

“I’ve really wanted to use something that everyone across the world can use, that has wide appeal to everyday people,” Platzer recently told NPR. “There really was no alternative.”

To be sure, ArduSat is designed to give ordinary people – students, teachers, individuals and enterprises – the chance to carry out experiments by controlling over 25 different sensors integrated in the unit, (spectrometer, magnetometer, radiation, camera, gyroscope, accelerometer, temperature, etc.)

As noted above, the goal of the ArduSat project is to make space accessible to consumers, relatively cheaply.

Unsurprisingly, Atmel-powered Arduino boards are also widely used in the art world, with Alberto Gaitán, a Washington, D.C.-based artist, telling NPR  that Ardunio’s popularity is “growing, and growing fast.”

For example, an artist by the name of Joyce Yu-Jean Lee told NPR she wanted to use the Arduino in her next video art project.

“I’ve been wanting for a very long time – since graduate school – to work with sensors to make my videos interact with the viewers,” she explained. “I’ll have a solo show in the fall. I think I can get it down by then.”

And why not? As Arduino’s Massimo Banzi says, you don’t need anyone’s permission to make something great.

2 thoughts on “Arduino-based satellites for the homebrew masses

  1. Pingback: ArduSat launches, open-source in space! | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

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