Last week, our friends at Infinity Aerospace announced the complete open-sourcing of ArduLab, an ATmega2560-powered platform that enables streamlined NASA-approved experimentation to the critical mass.
Previously costing space researchers, students and experimenters anywhere between $2,000 and $3,500 per kit, the low-cost, plug-n-play electronics platform allows anyone to now devise and launch an out-of-the-box, space-certifiable experiment.
As previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, ArduLab’s maiden voyage to the International Space Station (ISS) took place last September onboard an Antares Rocket/Cygnus spacecraft at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.
When it was originally conceived back in 2012, the fundamental idea behind Ardulab was to provide as many people as possible the tools and information they need to be successful in space. Making Ardulab a completely open-source platform allows for all of the intellectual property to be used to its full extent. Capable of being programmed just like an Arduino, ArduLab comes equipped with all of the necessary features and interfaces for use on the ISS. As a result, Ardulab has already been used to create and perform experiments by elementary school students and NASA-JPL researchers alike.
“There are multiple [reasons] why we’re doing exactly what we’re doing [with ArduLab]. One is that space is usually not inclusive of all the people around the world,” ArduLab Co-Founder Manu Sharma told DIY Space Exploration last year. “I wanted to create products that enabled people across the globe… [to] make cool experiments and do anything they want. That was the real reason why we went to open hardware because it allows us to go beyond borders and find people to work on it very easily.”
“Open sourcing the hardware and software is only part of this, we’re also going to share all of the information and resources we’ve collected as a company going through this process over the past couple of years-what works and what doesn’t. We hope to build towards an ecosystem much like Arduino where people collaborate and share around a common platform to help each other achieve their respective goals in space,” ArduLab Co-Founder Brian Rieger explained in the company’s latest press release. Riegers adds, “The Ardulab is an Atmel powered machine that’s won the faith of organizations like NASA and Stanford because of its advanced capabilities in a small form factor and its reliability.”
James Pura, President & Director of Space Frontier Foundation, noted that Infinity Aerospace has the same ideals and goals as Space Frontier Foundation, which is to make space accessible to the widest and most diverse audience possible. “In this respect, we are proud to support them in this endeavor and excited to see how people use this technology and information to benefit their space endeavors.”
Space Frontier Foundation and Infinity Aerospace believe that space settlement will only be achieved when space is cheap and widely accessible to everyone, and this is one huge step in the right direction.
Atmel’s Tom Vu recently had the pleasure of going 1:1 with the ArduLab’s Manu Sharma. You can catch the entire interview here.