South Korean Man To Launch Homemade Satellite
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
A South Korean inventor is going where no man has gone before… rather he will be the first individual to send a do-it-yourself satellite into orbit, after securing a contract with a French technology company to get his device launched into space.
The 2.2-lb., 4-cu.-in. satellite was fully designed, developed and constructed by Song Hojun, a 34-year-old engineering student and ex-intern of a private satellite company, where he got the idea for his “Open Source Satellite Initiative.” After six years of combing through academic papers and searching for parts in back alley electronic shops and from online vendors, his vision was realized.
“Making a satellite is no more difficult than making a cellphone,” said Song, who said he built the satellite to show people they could achieve their dreams. “I believe that not just a satellite, but anything can be made with the help of the Internet and social platforms. I chose a satellite to show that symbolically.”
Costing the equivalent of $440 US, Song’s satellite rivals that of DIY satellites launched by universities, science groups, and even amateur radio clubs. But his is the first truly personal satellite designed and financed by a single individual.
Through his contract with French tech NovaNano, which brokered the deal and found a suitable rocket, Song’s OSSI will be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in December along with another satellite. The cost of launching his satellite: about $105,000 US.
While Song ran a small electronics business to support his work, the bulk of the funding came from his parents.
When the satellite flies, it will transmit information about the working status of its battery, and the temperature and rotation speed of the satellite’s solar panel. Radio operators will be able to communicate with it, and, if all goes well, it will repeat a message in Morse code using its LED lights at a set time and location.
Song has been invited to speak at international universities and organizations around the world, including those in the US and London. “The reason why technology or science is talked about is not because it is an absolute truth, but rather because it generates interesting stories,” said Song.