Every year, hundreds of satellites are launched into the earth’s orbit in the hopes of improving scientific knowledge of our planet as well as aiding communication technologies. But South Korean Artist Song Hojun has a different view about satellites. For him, it’s not important that each satellite sent into space should serve a scientific function. Instead, he thinks that a satellite launched into space should also serve humanity’s need for idle pleasure as well. And it was this bit of creative logic that drove the tech-obsessed Seoul-based artist into creating his own satellite from junk found at local back alley electronics stores.
The artist calls his DIY project OpenSat which stands for Open Source Satellite Initiative. Once it’s launched in space, people would be able to make reservations for having their messages flashed in the night sky at a set time and location which could in theory be one heck of a way to propose if your partner can read the Morse code fluently. The blinking of the LEDs on the satellite would be visible to the naked eye at night. The satellite measures 10 cubic centimeters and can transmit information about the rotation speed and temperature of the satellite's solar panel and the working status of the battery.
The project took over six years in the making and Song funded the project via sales of his DIY manuals and t-shirts though a big chunk of his funding came from his folks. Song’s DIY satellite weighs a little more than 1 kg. Even though the satellite itself cost just $400 to make, it’s going to cost Song a whopping $100K to launch it into space. Song has already signed an agreement with NovaNano, the French satellite company, which will launch the artist’s creation from a Russia-owned Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad in Kazakhstan with another satellite this December. Song described the process of building the satellite as being “no more difficult than making a cellphone”.