Working DIY micro-satellites let anyone spy from space


A British company known as Surrey Satellite Technology is making satellites that are smaller, cheaper and easier to build, which it hopes will open up the orbital market to new interests. About the size of a refrigerator (and looking a bit like one), the satellites cost around $10 million — which you may consider a deal next to more sophisticated, $500 million satellites — and weigh only 220 pounds and take 18 months to build.

Five Surrey satellites will go up into orbit this month on the back of an ex-Soviet rocket in Kazakhstan. They will be capable of gathering images of Earth that could be used for, "among other things, evidence of agricultural fraud, illegal oil dumping, the impact of natural disasters and likely deposits of minerals." So with just a bit of cash, small businesses and even individuals could have their own satellites in space.

The Guardian, via Dvorak Uncensored, via Gizmowatch