Build your own Sputnik

It’s been 50 years since the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, shaming the American government into taking the space race seriously. In part of a look back BBC News has a retrospective on the Sputnik launch and a guide in brief on building your own satellite.

“Technology now is way ahead of what was available in 1957, and making your own fully functional Sputnik would now be very simple indeed,” says Jan Buiting, editor of Elektor Electronics, a hobbyist magazine.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if you could build one in a container smaller than a matchbox, weighing about as much as a wristwatch. The components, including a transmitter, battery and the sensors you’d need would probably cost less than £50,” he says.

Of course, launching it into space, getting it to the right altitude to orbit, and keeping track of it might all require a bit more. However, the basics of building the device are clearly easily achieved in modern times.

[tags]Sputnik, Space race, DIY, Build your own Sputnik[/tags]