DFRobot: An Open Source Hardware Company Will Have a Journey Into Space

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DFRobot (http://www.dfrobot.com) is an open source hardware company. Recently they were contacted by the Friedrich-Alexander-University (FAU) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) that some of their boards will be used on the Eu:CROPIS satellite mission in 2017/2018.

Exploring space is a dream for any tech enthusiast. Recently DFRobot (http://www.dfrobot.com) was contacted by Scientists from the Friedrich-Alexander-University (FAU) in Germany. Together with Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (The German Aerospace Center, or DLR for short), they prepare the Eu:CROPIS satellite mission for 2017/2018. And some of boards from DFRobot will be right on it.

The DLR is the national center for aerospace, energy and transportation research in Germany. It engages in a wide range of research and development projects for national and international partnerships.

The Eu:CROPIS mission (Euglena and Combined Regenerative Organic-Food Production in Space) is one of their projects. In this project they aim to create a symbiotic community of bacteria, tomatoes and single-celled algae using synthetic urine(!) on board a satellite that simulates the gravity of the Moon or Mars.

The project will last for one year. Two greenhouses are scheduled to launch into space in 2017. Inside, waste products will be recycled to produce fertilizer for growing tomatoes.

This mission will observe the greenhouses while they are in differing levels of gravity: for the first 6 months, the satellite will spin with a rotational speed creating lunar gravity inside. Then it will speed up to simulate Martian gravity and start the second experiment run. It will also aim to collect data on long-term exposure to cosmic radiation over the course of the space flight. In addition, the US space agency NASA will contribute a small independent experiment to measure the rate of photosynthesis in algae.

These experiments are expected to deliver important results to help enable humankind to survive in hostile environments – whether in space or here on Earth.

Thanks to FAU and DLR, a small part of DFRobot is going to travel into space. DFRobot hope this project is a great success and its experiment will benefit humanity. They also hope that the development of the Maker Movement will stimulate exploration of the unknown worlds!

Opensource hardware is ushering in a new era of DIY space exploration? That's true. Starting own space program has never been easier thanks to low cost software and manufacturing tools. Some people even build satellites in their garage! Two Argentinian satellites (satellite one, satellite two) recently released the framework and flight computer software for their main platform.

For more information about Eu:CROPIS:
http://www.dlr.de/dlr/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-10212/332_read-10095/year-all/#/gallery/14438

For more information about DFRobot:
http://www.dfrobot.com

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Emma Song
DFRobot
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