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Book Review: Surviving Orbit the DIY Way: Testing the Limits Your Satellite Can and Must Match by Sandy Antunes

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For years, schools and universities have had rocket clubs, where amateur scientists could create and fly their own homemade rockets. Now, amateurs are also building pico satellites, micro-satellites of low mass and size that are made with inexpensive materials and can be launched into low earth orbit. These pico satellites can be used for running scientific experiments, university research, art projects, or just for fun. They make great group projects for advanced high school and college students and are surprisingly inexpensive to make.The first book in this series of books, DIY Satellite Platforms: Building a Space-Ready General Base Picosatellite for Any Mission explains how to do this.

Of course, after your satellite has been created, it requires extensive testing to make sure it can withstand launch and function in space. Surviving Orbit The DIY Way explains how to do that clearly and in an easy to understand fashion.

Even if you have not built a satellite yet, this book is surprisingly interesting reading. You will learn many interesting facts about space and how orbits work. How do you know your satellite will function in a vacuum? What about radiation? Space debris?

Sandy Antunes writes in a down-to-earth, conversational style that makes it all seem so easy, while never downplaying the danger involved in some of the testing.

The materials needed to build the test equipment are quite inexpensive and easy to find and include power drills, pressure cookers, and even ropes and buckets.

With DIY Satellite Platforms, you too can safely launch a small basic satellite into space safely and with satisfactory results. The book is a quick read, only 80 pages long, short of formulas and long on practical information, and should inspire physics and science teachers and students to create some hands-on space experience for themselves or their classes.

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About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, and Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.