Building a satellite seems pretty far out there, right? Well actually its gaining popularity amongst mainstream tertiary level Universities and Colleges on every continent. The costs have dropped dramatically due to standardisation and shrinking spacecraft sizes. A 1p PocketQube is 5cm cubed, which isn’t an awful lot of real estate to play with, but computing power has been growing at a near exponential rate as predicted by Moore's law. This means small satellites can do many tasks that it would have previously taken a much larger satellite to achieve.
1. It’s achievable
High Schoolers have build satellites which are now orbit Earth! This has been done, albeit the concept is very new. The first High School Satellite was called TJ3Sat and was designed and built by an American University called Thomas Jefferson High. With the backing of Orbital Sciences Corporation and a free launch on the NASA Elana Cubesat program, there 1kg Cubesat made Orbit on the 19th of November 2013.
Another High School Satellite to make orbit was Duchifat-1 from Israel which was co-ordinated by the Herzliya Science Centre (HSC). This was launched from Russia in June this year and was a complete success!
Duchifat-1, Credit: Wiki commons