ArduLab launch countdown begins

We’re eagerly counting down the hours and days until the long-awaited ArduLab launch, currently slated for September 17, 2013. Although this particular mission is headed to the International Space Station (ISS) on an Antares Rocket/Cygnus spacecraft developed by the Orbital Sciences Corporation, the ArduLab is more than capable of operating on a number of suborbital launch vehicles and parabolic aircraft.

As previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the ArduLab – powered by Atmel’s versatile ATMega 2560 microcontroller (MCU) – is a highly capable experimentation platform ready for space right out of the box. Designed by Infinity Aerospace, ArduLab can be programmed just like an Arduino.

According to ArduLab co-founder Manu Sharma, ArduLab is equipped with automatic switching, enabling experiments to be fully automated including data retrieval. Meaning, no dedicated astronaut time is needed.

“Simply put, our ArduLab Space Programs offered by Infinity Aerospace can transform any high school or university classroom into a fully fledged space lab for under $5k,” Sharma told Bits & Pieces.

“Indeed, ArduLab can be programmed using in-house software (currently in development) dubbed Space Cloud. This allows users to program the Lab via a web browser.”

As Sharma recently noted, ArduLab ultimately wants to create a community of space hardware hackers.

“We’re launching our forums and our community page where people can just hang out, share their experiences and share knowledge about experiments that they’re doing and things like that. We really want to create a new committee of people and we need those people to [renew] possibilities of what we can do with ArduLab and future products,” he added.

Interested in sending your experiment to the ISS and beyond? The Space Explorer Program includes ArduLab 1.0, an additional ArduLab board for experimentation development, launch slot to space and an Infinity Aerospace basic payload support for $4,995.

You can also customize your Explorer Program for an additional fee, while the Space Conqueror Program ($34,995 yearly subscription fee) offers unlimited flights to space, 3 x ArduLab 1.0, ($250 for each additional ArduLab 1.0) and a “Getting Started in Space” lesson with Infinity Aerospace engineers.

Interested in learning more? Be sure to check out Infinity Aerospace’s official page here. Readers may also want to peruse the infographic below which details just what ArduLab is capable of doing for your experiment.

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