Game Changer: Do-It-Yourself Satellites and Applications for Citizen Space

Citizen participation in space is now enabled by commercial picosatellite do-it-yourself (DIY) kits, and associated services and expertise to customize their missions and place payloads into orbit. What's being done with these satellites, and what opportunities and concerns do they pose? 

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ThinSats in orbit

Citizen space applications of picosatellites are demonstrating a profound democratizing effect on space activity. With increased participation and new demographics of space actors, the possibility for technological advancement and unforeseen uses of picosatellites increases exponentially. The CubeSat revolution witnessed over the past 20 years has proven that compounding success from one user group can break stigma and prompt innovative applications across the entire realm. As engineers continue to think smaller and smarter, the same type of revolution could easily happen on the pico scale. And as game changers in the growth phase, citizen space picosatellites — and the challenges and opportunities they bring — could enter the spotlight sooner than many think. 

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