Project: Mach 30
Space exploration has long been the preserve of astronauts and rocket geeks. Escaping Earth’s gravity is an expensive and often dangerous proposition, so the only way most of us get to experience space is vicariously, either through following NASA’s exploits, or checking out the latest offering at the movie theatre.
At least one organization wants to change that. Called “Mach 30,” the group believes that anyone who wants to visit space should be able to do so.
“We … believe that while government agencies like NASA and private companies like Space X may have similar end goals, their current paths will not lead toward regular space access in our lifetime,” states the website. “We believe the best path to that goal is through sustainable leadership, open source hardware, and the use of mature technology.”
The idea behind open source hardware is to use and adapt readily available hardware designs, create new hardware where necessary, and further, to make the designs for the new and adapted systems freely available to others. Mach 30 has two main projects in development at the moment: a Shepard Test Stand for Estes rocket motors, and a Ground Sphere CubeSat ground station.
To get involved, you can sign up for their free newsletter, make a donation, or get in touch to see how you can contribute to current and future projects. Mach 30 has partnered with the School Factory, and is also working with Southern Stars for their SkyCube project, a nanosatellite launched into space early in 2014.