Summer of Space
There' s the ESA Summer of Code for students, but if you are no longer a student and still wanted to do space related coding - watch out for the Hackathon at the Satellite Applications Catapult which is now open for registration. The dates are 28-29 June, 2014.
And there's nothing more exciting than the first ever SpaceUp unconference in the UK on 5-6 July, 2014 - get your early bird ticket for 25GBP before the 25 May. If you are unfamiliar with unconference, here is what wiki said: "Typically at an unconference, the agenda is created by the attendees at the beginning of the meeting. Anyone who wants to initiate a discussion on a topic can claim a time and a space. Unconferences typically feature open discussions rather than having a single speaker at the front of the room giving a talk, although any format is permitted." - but don't worry, keep an eye on the SpaceUp UK site, it will be releasing more tips and information in the run up to the day, so watch this space - just save the date and get the tickets already! Come to tell and hear about space at SpaceUp UK.
Factory might sound like a big word and if you have joined us on our February field trip, you'd realise how office like and friendly the facility that satellite "factory" can be like! On 22nd Feb, we went to visit the Pocket Spacecaft's facility at Bristol. The train was not helping, nor was the flood, but some of us made it for a very educational day!
It must be said home of the Pocket Spacecraft is like a tucked away alternative world. To reach Pocket Spacecraft's facility, one would ask direction at the Cinema's entrance by the water side, be directed upstairs through bar and cafe, Finally through a secure corridor of the Pervasive Media Studio and you'll reach the open planned HQ.
Michael has presented to us the tips and tricks for getting satellites into space, sharing the greatest detail from his experiences on everything from regulations, details of open sourced space projects, place for souring parts to make your own cubesat, technologies for controlling landing, altitude, propulsion etc, to tools for listening to spacecrafts. And of course the process and the ambition to launching thousands of thin film Pocket Spacecrafts in an affordable way. There's no lack of detail on all topics covered, it's like a week of space symposium compressed into a day!
Regulations for spacecraft is actually very intriguing, when it is stationary, in the atmosphere and out of the atmosphere, it is considered as a different kind of instrument and are subject to different regulations! And of course, we need to ensure wherever we go in space, we leave it rather untouched and there's where the Heritage rules and Planetary protection rules comes in. Needless to say different country have different regulations too!
And of course, we visited the facility for making spacecraft. Most electronics are printed out over at a FABLAB, in the HQ, we can see:
And that is not yet the end of the day! We then learn how to listen to satellites! Listen? Yes, like tuning on your FM radio, listening to satellite is like tuning into the channel of the satellite (as oppose to BBC R6 for example). But because the signal is much weaker, the antenna and the "radio" have to be a bit more powerful - so we learnt a lot about the different types too.
In our usual style, we continued the Q&A through drinks (and a very nice dinner too, thanks!). Oh, and we had a small brainstorming around interplanetary internet on the train on our way back after dinner. Keep an eye on that space.
To those of you who have seen Steph from Citizen Inventor talking at TEDxEastEnd a few week's back at the end of Jan (photos here, video later), here is your next chance to get hands on with the spacecrafts that has been waved around on stage (courtesy of Pocket Spacecraft). And of course, curiosity is all you need - so come along to tour around and have a play with spacecrafts. Sign up here: http://www.meetup.com/CitizenInventor/events/149322422/
We shall be heading off to Bristol to Pocket Spacecraft's home on the 23 Feb, where you'd be able to see the facilities for manufacturing one of the spacecrafts that has been waved on stage. You'll be surprised to see the facilities (it's friendlier than you ever imagined) and you will have your hands on the spacecrafts! We'll announce the exact plan closer to date. But to ensure you got the date saved and train ticket booked: We will start the day at 11am and the event is expected to last for most of the day, pub to follow in our usual tradition, of course.
While we are at it, February certainly seems a busy month - we've just announced another two more events organised by our friends as well. If you have any citizen science related project, event, articles - feel free to keep them coming!
Remember, let curiosity take you to places you have never imagined.
Having been focusing on the low down on hands on space hacks for our last couple of events, on the 20 Nov we had a change of perspective - before we get back to hands on development and wrap up the year with "Making Interplanetary Internet": http://interplanetaryinternet.eventbrite.co.uk/).
We, together with Satellite Applications Catapult, hosted an intensive whirlwind of 6 space companies telling us about their entrepreneurial stories - the market they saw and the business they've created. To get a well rounded flavour, our speakers are from upstream (spacecrafts) and downstream (businesses that uses satellite data) space sector.
We had ping pong table at the Rainmaking Loft, which was perfect for anyone needed a warm up before the talks commence or an exercise after the pizza! We also had bean bags to cater for those who needed to relax instead.
Sam from Satellite Applications Catapult started the evening by providing an overview to the exciting growth of the space sector in the UK, followed up by Steph's quick intro to what you can do as citizen for space. In a series of lightening talks, we've cut the chase and dive straight into the exciting innovation and enablers from our speakers:
It was interesting to hear the story of how the panel entered the space industry. Citizen Inventor has been talking about bio-payload but Graham from Avanti is well ahead of us there - he already looked at sending worms to space back at school!
It was very generous for Satellite Applications Catapult and Rainmaking Loft to sponsor the pizza, beer and venue hosting. Special thanks goes to all those extra pairs of hands that have made a swift tidy up happen - so we can all go to the pub! In line with the usual Citizen Inventor style, we had our extended Q&A in the pub and some of us left the pub only when it kicked us out...
Finally, for those of us who like toys - watch this space. We're about to get some Christmas presents from Michael from Pocket Spacecraft... stay tuned!
Our magazine has arrived! Issue One is, guess what, "Space - Exploration by Citizens".
Issue One will track Space exploration and technology developments with citizen participation, mainly covering open sourced, crowd sourced, hands on Space projects and some articles on citizen as astronauts and a hint of space tourism - some pointers to the possibility for us, the citizens, to participate in Space.
Unlike a traditional magazine, this online magazine would be updated as time goes on - subscribe to this issue (button on the front page) and get updates for all things "Space - Exploration by Citizens". Or if you've got news to add, let us know (yea, collaborative effort - without you, we won't be as open)!
Our plan is to keep releasing magazines on all topics citizen science, so stay tuned via twitter @citizeninventor or via rss.
Have you missed the Pocket Spacecraft's mission to moon on Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1677943140/send-your-own-pocket-spacecraft-on-a-mission-to-th)? It has ended, but it is now funded as well (yes, just not totally by the crowd!). Ok, before it all started to sound confusing, that project is still going ahead outside of kickstarter, but all the rewards and schedule is still happening as per the Kickstarter page. 399GBP will get you two that you can write some software for (one to land in the earth, one to the moon) - but there are plenty of options from 1GBP as you can see on the Kickstarter page. Choice ranges from just having your picture on a spacecraft to having your hardware and software on board - there's something for everyone.
Here is your last chance!
Pocket Spacecaft is offering Citizen Inventor members a last chance to pledge to this project (via paypal this time) by 6Sept, from which point, rewards will start to ship! Michael Johnson spoke to us on our first Citizen Inventor event, so he should be familiar - he is also the co-creator of KickSAT! Check out our earlier post for an example of the spacecraft (yes, the thin film that looked like the tax disc - the real thing will have printed electronics instead!).
All you have to do is to is:
1) Make sure you have a membership with Citizen Inventor - sign up at: http://www.meetup.com/CitizenInventor/
2) Go to http://pocketspacecraft.com/ - click the green button to join the mission, make sure you select "Citizen Inventor" as your society, select the "reward" (detail as per kickstarter page) before you submit.
There you go, you are now part of the crowd that funded a space mission!
Citizen Inventor has its first ever event yesterday. Of all sciences and engineering disciplines, we have decided to head straight to Space for our first event! With an unmissable line-up and the generous sponsor on venue by The Open Data Institute.
Our first ever speaker is Dr Sam Adlen from the Satellite Application Catapult, who studied water on Mars in his PhD! It was great to hear the encouraging words on the government's new investments in the UK space industry, thus the opportunities. We've also heard many initiatives the Satellite Application Catapult have to lower the barrier of entry and facilitate technology innovation, for the Space industry and for the downstream satellite applications. One of them is to get data on earth observation arriving at our finger tips more seamlessly from the growing number of satellites and constellations that are to be launched. We also had a glimpse on the future (10+ years) missions related technologies. And, of course, we got loads of tips on who to go to for support and funding! And thanks Sam for presenting the TechDemoSAT to us on request.
Then we have Michael Johnson, a physicists heavily involved in two of the highest profile Kickstarter space project - the founder of Pocket Spacecraft and the co-creator of KickSAT. Pocket Spacecraft is the the first interplanetary citizen space exploration mission. Their goal is "to provide generic tools for space exploration and science, accessible enough for non-technical and technical people to use, for fun or serious science". This personal space age is facilitated by the Open Source Space System - so global community of engineers and hobbyists would be able to contribute to an extensive open source open access library of tools and techniques. It couldn't be more excited for the makers amongst us to hear that plans are to print spacecrafts in space with Prepositioned Orbiting Printers! Michael also shared his invaluable experiences and tips on how to fly things into space practically. We also had the great pleasure to have a detailed look on all the chips that was passed around:
Last but not least, thanks to all those who have made it to the event in this glorious summer day. It surely was refreshing to have a pint, or two, or three, where we had our Q&A session with both speakers! There is so much to talk about regarding space - some of us only started making our way home as the pub encouraged us to do so by locking up... Without you, there's no community.
It's always good to have some actions after being in a room, so here are some suggestions:
- Save the date: 19/20 Oct. Satellite Applications Catapult Hackathon is on!
- Interested in having your spacecraft for the price of a PC? Get yours on Kickstarter before too late (by 26 Aug).
- Come to the next meetup, spread the love to like minded people and get hands on!