At Mach 30, we dream of a world where people live and work on other worlds and in space stations. When we say people, we don’t mean six at a time, we mean hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands. One of the keys to making this dream a reality is to share the technology of space as widely as possible, and so we are doing all of our engineering work as open source hardware, and we are not alone. In the last four years nearly one dozen groups have formed with the stated purpose of developing space flight systems in a manner similar to that of open source software projects. These groups intend to develop and then share the designs of a wide variety of space systems including launch vehicles, satellites, and lunar probes.
The path in front of all of us is a steep one. Tomorrow, we’ll discuss the challenges and opportunities on our shared path to a strong open source spaceflight industry. Today, let’s meet the revolutionaries of open source spaceflight.
Copenhagen Suborbitals is an all volunteer Danish organization founded by Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen. The mission of Copenhagen Suborbitals is to launch a human being into space. They are currently developing a sub-orbital spacecraft composed of a one-person capsule called the Tycho Brahe, and a booster called HEAT.
The Collaborative Space Travel and Research Team (CSTART) is an all volunteer organization with members throughout the world. CSTART was founded in 2009 by a group of space enthusiasts who met in an online community site called Reddit. The mission of CSTART is to organize and finance open source spaceflight projects run by space enthusiasts. Current CSTART projects include a cubesat called COSMoS, a high altitude balloon called Cloudlab, and a hybrid rocket called Chimera.
Develop Space is a 501c3 non-profit organization founded in 2007. Its mission is to enable human exploration and development of space through open collaboration. Develop Space projects include an architecture study for a minimalist human mission to Mars, the development of a space exploration reference library, and research into engineering tools that are licensed as open source software.
Mach 30 is a non-profit organization incorporated in 2009. Our mission is to hasten the advancement of humanity into a spacefaring society. Current projects at Mach 30 focus on developing a strong legal and organizational foundation for running open source spaceflight projects. These projects include the Openeering Wiki, a community portal documenting the existence of and experience using free and open source engineering tools, Open Design Engine, a web based engineering project management portal, and research into licensing and management of open projects within the boundaries of export control laws such as ITAR.
Open Aerospace was founded by Ralph Ewig in 2009. The mission of Open Aerospace is to be the organizing framework for space enthusiasts to collaborate on human activities beyond Earth. Open Aerospace’s projects focus on defining an end to end architecture for space exploration.
The OpenLuna Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization founded by Paul Graham and Gary Snyder. The mission of Open Luna is to return humans back to the moon through private enterprise. Early projects at Open Luna are focusing on a series of robotic missions and public outreach. Their eventual goal is to build a small human outpost on the moon.
Open Space Movement was founded in 2010. Its mission is to provide a collaborative engineering environment, educational resources, and organizational framework for a public space venture. Open Space Movements current primary focus is the development of their collaborative engineering environment as a web portal similar to those used to host open source software projects.
The Portland State Aerospace Society (PSAS) is a student organization at Portland State University. PSAS projects center around the development and operation of low cost open source rockets. Their most recent launch, held in October of 2010, was a complete success.
Team FREDNET is an official competitor in the Google Lunar X-Prize. Team FREDNET is incorporated as a 501c3 non-profit organization. As a competitor in the Google Lunar X-Prize, Team FREDNETs projects all center around the development of a prize winning lunar rover.
The Ultra Light Space Flight (ULSF) group is a community of individuals who are working on developing open source space probes. Their core value is to “to the smallest possible craft operating on the smallest possible budgets” and they believe that robotic probes have been and will continue to be the backbone of space exploration.
WikiSat is an international group of volunteers and students. Their mission is to make access to space open to everyone. Their current projects include a high altitude balloon that will act as a proof of concept for their engineering processes, and a ultra-small scale satellite launcher as an entry to the N-Prize.
Want to join Mach 30′s team in the Open Source Spaceflight Revolution? Learn more here.