SEND YOUR PHONE INTO SPACE
Home-made spy satellites are all the rage
More and more people are ‘going’ into space on a shoestring – and controlling their very own spy satellites from their iPads.
Like 3D printing, the idea of building your own pico satellite began with science students and hobbyists, but now consumers are getting into the act.
At a fraction of the price of a ticket on Virgin Galactic, you can order a tiny satellite online, or just download the designs and build it yourself. With a built-in webcam, you can watch the launch in real time, and see the earth from orbit, as if you were on board the Space Station.
SpaceX is the most popular launch service for these DIY orbiting gizmos, with a website for group bookings.
One popular kit, called the “Galaxy Space Pod” requires just the addition of any Android smartphone to become a fully fledged spy satellite – and you control it. We all know what happens when you upgrade to the latest phone – the old one lies in the cupboard, unused, for years; now you can launch it into orbit instead.
Stephen Fry was one of the first to join this craze – so that he could send Tweets from outer space! Jeremy Clarkson was quick to follow suit, so that he could update his Facebook page while traveling at 17,000 miles per hour.
On the downside, after a few months your spy satellite loses orbital velocity and plunges into the atmosphere in a fiery finale – but that’s OK, you can always do it again, if you’ve got an old phone lying about…
Warning: Hazardous thinking at work
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