The growth of NewSpace brings with it many opportunities, especially for enthusiasts who once found space an inaccessible domain. Those of us living in places where the space industry is inaccessible, or who just want to try building a satellite for fun or research, can now source for satellite components over the internet, albeit at a price unaffordable for most individuals.
Here are a few companies offering CubeSat or PocketQube (smaller than CubeSats) kits and components, who have listed their catalogues online. Although most don’t allow you to add products to a shopping cart and complete your purchase immediately, all you have to do is contact these companies online to get what you need. Do note that certain countries have restrictions on these items, so please check the regulations if you’re seriously considering buying.
CubeSatShop is an online shop by Innovative Solutions In Space (ISIS), a Netherlands-based company founded in 2006. ISIS offers launch services, CubeSat and nanosat solutions, and of course, off-the-shelf CubeSat platforms, making the company ideal if you want a one-stop shop for your entire mission.
CubeSatShop has one of the most extensive online catalogues around, with products from numerous vendors including their parent company ISIS and CubeSat kit manufacturer Pumpkin (see below). You’ll be able to find CubeSat frames and structures, cameras, ground stations and everything else you might need.
Based in San Francisco, Pumpkin Inc. does allow you to immediately purchase what you need, the way a usual e-commerce store works. Pumpkin was founded in 1995, and began selling their CubeSat kit in 2003, which they have since become known for. The company develops its own products, which have been used in multiple missions by NASA, space burial company and Elysium-Star 1, other organizations. Other products include structure, modules and solar panels.
Headquartered in Glasgow, with a US office, Clyde Space provides everything you need to make your own CubeSat. With projects commissioned by the U.K. Space Agency, the European Space Agency (ESA), and a winner of numerous awards, Clyde Space is part of the burgeoning Scottish space industry which has made a name for its rate of satellite development.
Besides CubeSat structures and components, Clyde Space sells exciting stuff like deorbit systems, deployable solar panels, plasma thrusters, and on-board software. Like Pumpkin Inc., you can immediately add certain items to your cart and purchase them.
Complete with launch services and launch contracts for customers all over the world, Interorbital is the company that will launch Google Lunar X Prize contestant Synergy Moon’s rover and lander. Founded in 1996 and based in Mojave, California, the company makes CubeSat and TubeSat (a low-cost alternative to the CubeSat) kits, with a launch on their Neptune vehicles included in the price. You can’t purchase directly from an e-commerce store, but the company allows for payments via Paypal and bank transfer.
Another NewSpace startup in Glasgow, Scotland, Alba Orbital offers a smaller version of the CubeSat, measuring on 5cm cube instead of 10cm cube. Funded by a Kickstarter campaign that ran in October 2013, the company broke a world record in 2014 for selling the world’s smallest satellites.
Based in, and made in, the Czech Republic, SkyFox Labs™ sells CubeSat structures, antennas, sensors and navigation equipment. Their customers include the Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), Arizona State University, and the University of Applied Sciences, Austria.
The Bulgarian company claims to have “more 260 years of combined engineering experience” and features an online cubesat customisation page with instant pricing, in addition to ready-to-buy configurations that can be ordered and shipped in five days. It also features a robust education and research portfolio, and its ambitious InnoSpaceComm project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.