January 28 2014
We have been talking to the some of the teams on the front line of the PocketQube revolution. This blog features Stuart McAndrew of the OzQube-1 team, Australia's first PocketQube project.
How did you hear about PocketQube?
I first heard about PocketQube's from the popular Crowd-source funding website "Kickstarter". I started supporting projects on Kickstarter a year ago, and had been keeping an eye out for space related campaigns. When the campaign for Pocketqube shop started, I was keen to get on board.
Tell us a bit about your PocketQube Project
I've started a project called "OzQube-1". It is Australia's first PocketQube satellite ( that I know of!) The current plan is to build a 1P sized PocketQube that hosts a camera as a payload.
Where did the idea come from, what is the objective?
After reading all about Pocketqubes from the Kickstarter project, and doing a heap of internet trawling, I found that it coincided with the first launch of several Pocketqubes. One of them is called $50sat. This is a PocketQube that is made from low cost components and controlled by a PicAxe microcontroller. Seeing how reliable the tiny satellite has been showed me that even something inexpensive can work well. Being a technically minded kind of person, I thought that this was possibly something I could build, to combine my interests and give me a decent challenge.
Plus it's in my price range! There are a few objectives for the project. One is to create and build the satellite as an Engineering model, or Proof of Concept if you like. It's not going to be built to " flight ready" specifications - meaning no clean room, or other activities need for an actual space-bound craft. But the design will be able to be replicated if the opportunity arises to actually send it to space. Plus there's a whole lot more paperwork if it is space bound!
Another objective is to promote DIY space activities to try and inspire other Australians and people worldwide to have a focus on space related activities. A third objective relates to Australia's "Satellite Utilisation Policy" set by the Australian government in 2013 . I hope to try and contribute to some of the underlying principles they have described, such as having a domestic Earth Observation Capability, and developing expertise in space science, research and innovation.
What do you do outside building your PocketQube?
I currently work as an IT Operations Manager. I'm involved with all aspects of IT for a few small-medium sized companies.
What does the future hold?
For me - lots of learning new skills! For Pocketqubes- I hope that the PocketQube community grows and grows. The PocketQube size and cost makes space far more accessible than ever before. I think it will become a stepping stone for everyone who wants to build a career in the space industry.
What are your top tips for budding PocketQube builder?
Read and learn as much as you can! A lot of the ideas and development of Cubesat technologies can be applied to PocketQubes.
What is your definition of success?
If I can hold OzQube-1 in the air on top of a high hill ( not many mountains near me in Western Australia), and have it transmit its telemetry signal to a receiver 68km away, then I reckon I've done OK.
You can keep up to date with OzQube-1's progress on their website http://ozqube-1.blogspot.co.uk/ or on twitter
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