How much does a PocketQube Cost?
We have been quoted as saying that a PocketQube’s could cost the same as a new car, while a Cubesat will cost the same as a house. We roughly estimate this at around $35k for a 1P PocketQube and roughly $150k for a 1U Cubesat. For example we think the base PocketQube including launch to LEO could cost less than a new Ford Focus STI (UK prices around £22k)
Firstly, going smaller does have trade-offs. There is less mass to try things and less power/communications to uplink and downlink data to the spacecraft. With that being said the technology is usually simpler in a PQ, which results in quicker builds and a lower price point allows for greater risk-taking and ultimately innovation.
The other caveat is that PocketQube is new, bleeding edge new. This means a lack of an industrial base to support the development of ‘off the shelf components’. These have helped teams build Cubesats without being specialists in every area of a spacecraft.
Things are changing in this regard. We launched the first PocketQube Structures and quickly followed up with a support jig to help teams test their Spacecraft. With the help of the PQ community, we developed PQ60, a common electronics standard which allows multiple boards to connect to each other, even though they are manufactured by different vendors.
Developers outside PQ Shop include RadioBro who have developed a communications board and antenna system. Another firm who is developing parts is Stras-Space of Canada. We hope many more join them and choose the sell their parts via our marketplace.
Launch costs are where the biggest savings occur. The current price of a 1U Cubesat to LEO is $125k. A 1p PocketQube costs around $20k via Gauss Team of Rome, Italy. We would like to see more launch providers enter the PocketQube launch market to prevent price inflation.
With $20k for launch, that leaves us around $15k for the Spacecraft. We haven’t included the costs of ground stations, mentoring, testing or travel as these are highly variable depending on your University or organisations resources.
Parts Currently Available
PocketQube Kit (OBC, Radio, Labsat, Structure) - from $5999
Solar Panels - from $4999
Integration Jig - $699
Total - $ 11,697
Ballpark Estimates for other subsystems - Currently not available
EPS $2k-$4k - In development
Antenna $1k - $5k
Total Budget Range: from $16,797 including ground support equipment
With a 1p launch $35,797 to $75,797
Assumptions: Low end ballpark is DIY subsystems for a team with background knowledge and some help from a specialist
High End ballpark is custom build to order by experienced engineering firm