ArduSat pioneers open-satellite access

On August 4, a rocket carrying a satellite was launched from Japan, en route to the ISS, and from there the small cube-like object was pushed again into its own orbit around the Earth.

This Satellite is named ArduSat, and it’s one of the first ever satellites to be launched carrying an Arduino electronics platform. What’s so special about it is that the satellite is able to be used by the general public for their own experiments.

Over the past few years Arduino boards have been becoming more and more popular, transforming the future of open hardware as we know it, and Ardusat represents a new phase for the company.

ArduSat will be controlled by people from all over the world

Arduino create open-source electronic prototyping platforms where anyone who wants to learn the know-how can create electronic projects as simple or as extravagant as they like. The boards range from the size of a palm down to much smaller processors, but one thing is common, and that’s that more and more new hardware prototypes are being designed on them.

The basic, single-board microcontroller is making multidisciplinary projects much easier to access, and over the past few years more and more people are getting into building their own electronics.

For more complex designs, a broader understanding of electronics is needed, but Arduino is making the how people go about designing projects that much easier.

With ArduSat, not only will the public be able to track and follow the satellites progress, but for the first time the public will be able to take part in their own experiments, conducted from ArduSat itself. The Kickstarter backers received allotted time with the satellite, and new customers can buy time in space starting at $125.

Chris Wake, VP of Business Development at ArduSat’s parent company NanoSatisfi told CBR: "Arduino has been a great partner for us on ArduSat. We had worked with Arduino in the past, so we were familiar with its capabilities and potential, and it is accessible enough for the average student to work with, so it was a natural choice. It’s our goal to reach 500,000 students over the next five years with our satellites, so we needed something that could be understood and pliable for young minds — that is Arduino."

The parent company of Ardusat, NanoSatisfi, was born out of crowd-funding website Kickstarter and allows the public to book slots to control the satellite to conduct whatever experiments they wish. Users will be able to control the camera, listen for radio waves and even measure particles hitting the satellite.

"Arduino have done something truly amazing, and we’re excited to be a part of it with them," said Chris.
Enthusiasts all over the world have been using Arduino over the past few years to create all kinds of projects, ranging from automatic window-openers to a fire-breathing pony.

With Arduino, the more complex electronic designs have been pushed back into more specialist areas, with the ability to make a simple prototype of whatever purpose you wish much easier. With the platform driving creativity further than it ever has been before in this area, are we at the gates of a new open-hardware revolution?

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