UK Radio Ham Plans Lunar CubeSat

Pocket Spacecraft

Pocket Spacecraft

UK radio amateur Michael Johnson M0MJJ is raising funds on Kickstarter for a CubeSat that aims to travel to the Moon.

Michael - Founder

Michael – Founder

The Pocket Spacecraft project hopes to raise at least £290,000 ($442,000) to fund a 3U (30x10x10cm) CubeSat. It will carry Pocket Spacecraft known as ‘Scouts’ to the Moon. A ‘Scout’ is a disk with flexible electronics, smaller than a CD, containing a transceiver, antenna and solar cells.

The CubeSat should release a batch of the wafer thin Scout satellites into Earth orbit and deploy another batch of the Scout satellites into Lunar orbit.

Melania - Microgravity Experiment Lead

Melania – Microgravity Experiment Lead

It is understood the mission plans to use the 435 MHz and 2400 MHz bands.

The Kickstarter page says “If you are, or would like to be, a radio amateur, we’ll show you how to communicate directly with your spacecraft in space when it is nearby using inexpensive UHF and S-band equipment. Communication at (cis-)lunar distances is more expensive (typically requiring 5-24m+ steerable dishes), but available to some clubs and enthusiasts.”

Watch the video and read more about the Pocket Spacecraft project at
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1677943140/send-your-own-pocket-spacecraft-on-a-mission-to-th

Pocket Spacecraft is believed to be the first UK satellite project to use Kickstarter. These USA satellite projects have already successfully raised money on Kickstarter:

Radio ham Zac Manchester KD2BHC used Kickstarter to raise $74,586 in donations to fund the development and deployment of 200 amateur radio KickSat sprite satellites expected to take place later this year.

Radio amateurs Jeroen Cappaert KK6BLQ and Joel Spark KK6ANB are on the team of the ham radio satellite project ArduSat. They managed to raise donations of $106,330 in just 30 days.

SkyCube which will transmit on 915 MHz in the 902-928 MHz amateur radio band raised $116,890.

Kickstarter is not just about raising large sums of money, for example Sandy Antunes used Kickstarter to raise $2,780 to buy a ham radio transceiver and antennas to create an amateur radio satellite ground station Calliope.