Cubesat: Cheap Satellites Anyone Can Afford

One of the key themes we regularly explore is the democratization of technology.

This is a series of trends and shifts that's giving small businesses - and even individuals - access to tools and capabilities that even recently were only available to large corporations and government agencies.

Add the commercialization of space to this list.  

Space for All: Small, cheap, satellites may soon do your bidding, from NBC News, covers cubesats - minature satellites the size of a tissue box that are cheap and easy to build and operate.  The NBC News video below (under 2 minutes) nicely explains cubesats.  

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Cubesats started as a university research project, but is also being commercialized.  A new company, Nanosatisfi, is getting ready to launch a series of cubesats and is selling access to them for as low as $250.  

Planet Labs is another example of the democratization of space.  They recently raised $13 million and plan to field 28, small, low cost imaging satellites they call "Doves".

These will be used to map and monitor the Earth to better understand ecosystem change. But they're also exploring a wide range of commercial applications. They've already successfully launched 2 Doves and are scheduled to release a flock of Doves early next year.  

The combination of relatively inexpensive launch systems like Space X and cheap satellites like cubesats is leading to the rapid commercialization of space. Expect to see lots of space-based business activity - and opportunities for small businesses -  over the next few years.  

Steve 15 Jul, 2013

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