Build your own satellite
November 9, 2001 10:27 AM   Subscribe

Build your own satellite Three years ago, when midshipmen and members of the aeronautics department approached the school about building a satellite, officials balked at the half-million-dollar price tag. The group returned with a plan to build one for less than $50,000. After a month in orbit, a satellite built by Naval Academy midshipmen with off-the-shelf parts from Radio Shack is exceeding all expectations, sending and receiving messages from ham radio users around the world. Amazing!
posted by suprfli (6 comments total)
Instead of a $50,000 antenna system, the group used a metal tape measure. Instead of solar panels that cost $20,000 apiece, students bought panels the government uses to power emergency phones in deserts and national parks.

Instead of a navigation system, they used a highly-trained squirrel with a compass and a sextant. In place of high-end communications equipment, a dwarf with a walkie-talkie.
posted by phalkin at 10:36 AM on November 9, 2001

Instead of a launch vehicle they used 50 SCA geeks and a trebuchet.
posted by m@ at 10:39 AM on November 9, 2001

instead of fancy beeping electronic parts, they have a tape with 8 diferent prerecorded "blips" constatnly looped.
posted by lotsofno at 10:59 AM on November 9, 2001

Big deal. ;) High school kids are building satelites now. (Part of Stanford's CubeSat program.)
posted by badstone at 12:03 PM on November 9, 2001

This is all well and good but what is our science community doing about plans to send the first bovine into space?
posted by ZachsMind at 2:08 PM on November 9, 2001

You know, it's times like this that I have to put aside the bitter croquet rivalry between the Naval Academy and my alma mater and say, "way to go, guys. That's one damned fine off-the-shelf ham radio satellite you've made yourselves there."
posted by moss at 4:26 PM on November 9, 2001

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