FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Your Very Own Satellite

Admit it... you know you've always wanted one. Astro Research Corporation, a Japanese aerospace firm, has developed MySat-1, a "personal Earth orbiter" that can be yours for a mere $860,000.

The 44-pound cube can be launched within a mere 18 months of an order placement; the first one is said to be ready within a year. Once in orbit, the MySat-1 can perform a variety of sensing, observation, and scientific tasks, and can hold an assortment of payloads. Owners can track the satellite, which will orbit the Earth 14 times per day for up to 20 years, through an intranet site.

Already, MySat-1 has potential competitors, as firms in the US and Europe are developing satellites weighing two pounds and launched at a cost of $100,000. Critics, however, question the wisdom of launching personal satellites. Not only will these contribute to the growing collection of space junk in orbit, but they could also be used for nefarious purposes. Imagine the possibilities, and problems, associated with someone's "personal" spy satellite, a "personal" communications satellite used by a criminal syndicate, or a satellite used to jam or even hack into legitimate communications.

Otherwise, what, pray tell, would someone really do with their own satellite? It might not matter -- once Paris Hilton and Angelina Jolie have their own, they'll be all the rage.

Source: Discovery News