I’m Brian and one of the Founders of Infinity Aerospace. In 2012, our company developed and marketed an Arduino powered platform for easily conducting custom experiments autonomously on board the International Space Station. We called it Ardulab and it was well received in the space industry. In essence, the Ardulab is a small microcontroller with an Atmel chip as the brain that’s enclosed by a space ready aluminum chassis. 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.
The microcontroller is heavily modified from a basic Arduino to be compatible with the Space Station computers, and the chassis adheres to a compliant form factor (10cm cube). The microcontroller only uses about 10% of the internal volume of the chassis, leaving the rest for an experiment to be installed.
Fast forward to present day; Ardulab users include prominent space organizations like NASA-JPL, NanoRacks, and Stanford University. In addition, the overseer organization of the International Space Stations’ National Lab, CASIS, created a program called the National Design Challenge that funds k-12 schools to use Ardulabs in their science classrooms to build an experiment and then launch them to the Space Station. We couldn’t be more proud that the Ardulab product has catalyzed so many positive activities within the space community.
Up until today, the Ardulab had a minimum purchase price of $2,000 and was sold directly from us. This allowed us to recuperate the cost of design and development of the Ardulab as well as the incremental manufacturing cost of each unit. Unfortunately, this limited who could use the Ardulab and gain access to its features – features that make it very easy to conduct experiments autonomously on the Space Station. We realized this was a departure from the fundamental philosophy behind Ardulab; to give as many people as possible the tools and information they need to be successful in space.
We are so excited to share that the Ardulab is now completely open-source. To support this, we’ve launched a brand new website (www.ardulab.com) where anyone can learn about Ardulab, download the plans with a click of a button, and follow the provided guidance that will take anyone from idea to space experiment. A middle school class in Houston Texas used the Ardulab to create a space ready experiment in 6 months, I can only imagine what the space community at large will create with full access to the Ardulab technology.
Interested? You can explore Ardulab in more depth on its official website.