UPSat: The first open source satellite

At Libre Space Foundation all our projects (currently Sat NOGS & UPsat) are open source hardware and libre software. We consider it our mission to develop, advance and promote open source technologies in space applications. All our work was, is and will be open source. — Eleftherios Kosmas

As I often explain to people, capitalism ended in 2008.  We are now in a postcapitalism phase.

As Paul Mason explains in PostCapitalism, we have waves 50 years long. Mercantile Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism, Financial Capitalism.

cAs David Graeber explains in Debt, we have mush longer waves, pre-classical period, classical period, Middle Ages, Capitalism.

We are now in a period of transition.

The market self-corrects or so we are told.

The market did not self-correct for the banks and they had to be bailed out.

Iceland did not bail out the banks, criminal bankers and politicians received prison sentences.

Price gives a signal in the market.

Cost according to classic Marxism, has has three components, labour, land (raw materials) and money.

We can now add a fourth factor, information.

Information flows freely, the cost tends to zero.

We see this with e-books, digital music.

If there is zero price, there is no signal in the market, the market cannot function.

It is only the application of Draconian copyright and intellectual property rights that blocks the free flow of information.

We think of markets and capitalism as the same, we use interchangeably. As David Graeber shows in Debt, they are not the same.

During this period of transition we could have many different outcomes.

Serfs working for apps, is one possibility. Uber, task rabbit, Deliveroo, atomised workers  bearing all the risks and capital costs, working for a  pittance, bidding against each other in a negative auction,  often working for less than the minimum wage.

Or bullshit jobs,  McJobs, mindless, deskilled jobs, workers cheaper than robots.

Or we  could have open source, sharing, open coops, collaborative commons.

We have open source software, designers contribute for free, the software is available for free. The Hive in Dalston. There are are open source cars, tractors.

We now have an open source satellite,  UPSat, Greek QB50 cubesat, which the Greeks have just delivered. Open source software and hardware. A Cygnus automated cargo spacecraft will deliver UPSat to the International Space Station.

Launched earlier this week, the Cygnus supply spacecraft en-route to the International Space Station after a successful launch of Orbital ATK‘s Antares rocket. It’s next launch, scheduled for the 30th of December, will carry UPsat, the first open hardware and first made in Greece satellite to the International Space Station.

Do we want the future of UPSat, collaboration, sharing, free flow of information or one of atomised workers working as serfs for apps?

The choice is ours.

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4 Responses to “UPSat: The first open source satellite”

  1. Susan Prophet Says:

    There have been many amateur radio satellites, non-commercial, available for free use since the 80s.

  2. keithpp Says:

    Correct, but they were not developed as open source.

  3. Susan Prophet Says:

    True, but I’m not sure that makes the Open Source ones any better or more significant, does it? The principle of free access and public satellites is not new.

  4. Susan Prophet Says:

    “Open source” is just a new name (like “coding”). All the code for the AX25 TNCs that were used on AMSAT was shared back then. Just it wasn’t called “Open Source”!

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