Here’s a rather interesting way to launch your own personal satellite into orbit using Interorbital System’s TubeSat Personal Satellite Kit. For a price of $8,000, you get a basketball-sized tube and launch to 192 miles above earth into “low orbit”. You could easily do space imaginary of earth, videos, and anything you can fit in the TubeSat. They won’t stay in orbit for more than couple months and will burn up (due to the lower earth orbit) but still, this could be a fun way to test your space technology.
For one, I can see myself equipping the TubeSat with a bunch of digital cameras to take photos/videos of earth. There’s also CubeSat run by CalPoly, you might want to check out too.
Planet Earth has entered the age of the Personal Satellite with the introduction of Interorbital’s TubeSat Personal Satellite (PS) Kit. The new IOS TubeSat PS Kit is the low-cost alternative to the CubeSat. It has three-quarters of the mass (0.75-kg or 1.65-lb) and volume of a CubeSat, but still offers plenty of room for most experiments or applications. And, best of all, the price of the TubeSat kit actually includes the price of a launch into Low-Earth-Orbit on an IOS NEPTUNE 30 launch vehicle. Since the TubeSats are placed into self-decaying orbits 310 kilometers (192 miles) above the Earth’s surface, they do not contribute to the long-term build-up of orbital debris. After operating for a few months (the exact length of time on orbit is dependent on solar activity), they will safely re-enter the atmosphere and burn-up. TubeSats are designed to be orbit-friendly. Launches are expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2010.