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DIY Satellite (BBC Orbiter competition) Answered

Ever fancied making your own satellite?

Now you can! The BBC is running a challenge to build a modern equivalent of the old Sputnik 1.

Do you fancy building you own Sputnik? We've given you an idea how easy it could be, now the Magazine wants to hear from willing volunteers. We can even come and film you putting it together. We'll also investigate how to get your Sputniks launched.

I've already volunteered - just imagine the Instructable that could result; the first DIY website in space!


Not sure how tough it would be, but a small CCD camera pointed at the earth would be a cool addition to your orbiting website. You could also add a GPS receiver and geostamp the photos.

The mobile I've scrounged to stand in as a transmitter has a camera in it... (OMG, the work I'm giving myself! I wonder if school will give me a month or three off?)

Hell if you associate them you might get a little extra funding. As a few add ins look at code from the webcams set up at the likes of Nurburgring, allowing a live feed of images taken at set intervals to be added to sites.

Oh, I doubt I'll ever get this done (I posted this thread a year ago!), and I know I won't get any cash from my school (the budget is tighter now that we're closing - we've lost all the long-term funding).

Maybe I'll hold onto the idea until I get settled into high school.

No, better - I'll use it in interviews; hire this teacher, he comes with his own space programme... , although, the first teacher into space never quite got back...

Ha, well it would look good on the resume, I've been applying for new jobs myself and found that memorable things help loads, for example a recent one the guy got talking with me about projects and things and saying anything about my jet engine got an amazing response, not as a main point but as a way to make you stick in their mind. A space program would have a similar effect I suspect. Granted there are a lot of other existing places that may be willing to fund you in return for publicity, also other than education etc. the lottery have been doing a lot of community funding lately, they're the people backing the projects that took me to Westminster abbey.

As I said, I have volunteered for this. I have not had a reply yet - the BBC are notoriously slow at responding to anything except criticism (when they bury the evidence like lightning!) - but I really would like to take part. Is anybody else planning to have a go? Does anybody have any ideas they are willing to share with me?

I'd like to participate, but I have so many urgent works pending that I would heve scruples to postpone some of them again ... About ideas : - I was vaguely imagining a miniaturized sputnik-like satellite of less than a kg ... something that could fit in a pocket ... :o)

I'd assume that size is inversely proportional to the amount of money spent. The whole capability of Sputnik could be enclosed in a widget the size of a mobile phone, space-hardening and all. "Our" budget would probably come out with a shoe-box sized doodad.


10 years ago

I would think that the idea of it orbiting would be a secondary feature. The primary feature would be to have the same functions as Sputnik 1, density of high atmospheric layers, radio-signal distribution. If we appropriate those terms to our present days, I'm sure we will not really require it to orbit around earth. Something a little more like a metaphor maybe? :)

If you read the article, it doesn't sound any more expensive than many of the 'ibles already posted here - Sputnik was little more than a couple of sensors wired to a transmitter, a job that could be managed by such as a stamp chip and powered by the batteries from a mobile phone.

Yes, building it would not be too much of a problem but propelling it beyond the earth's atmosphere may be a little bit difficult.

. Wow! When I read the title, I thought "surely, he left out the word dish," but it actually means what it says. :) . I'd be very interested in being a team member for an Instrutables satellite project. I could probably be talked into donating a few bucks for parts/&c;, too.

How to launch it into orbit is the part that I'm really curious about. And to fund the USD10000 per kg cost to launch it. Perhaps BBC can pull some strings somewhere?

The original Sputnik was in a very low orbit. Such orbits are now quite easily achievable with re-tasked missiles. Some modern fighters have such high ceilings that they are supposed to be able to get some of their under-wing ordnance into sub-orbital space. Or maybe they'll stick it in the back seat of a MiG and give it a free-fall coast?

Wow ! Sounds like an interesting challenge !