Originally the idea was to assemble a satellite look-alike from the spare parts at Aalto University's Space Lab for demonstrating the idea of a CubeSat and modern space technology to the general public.
This idea turned out to be a hit: the public wanted to see, touch and play with a "real satellite". Soon the schools wanted to have an opportunity to work with a satellite, as it gives a concrete view of the New Space. Finland has been a small player in the traditional space business but rocketed up to the elite of "New Space" after the first Finnish satellite, Aalto-1, was launched in 2017.
There was and is a need for Kitsat, an educational CubeSat, and so we decided to upgrade and modify the original spare-part satellite to a special satellite designed specifically for educational use.
At first, this concept was called DIY Sat, a satellite you can build yourself, but after the feedback from the test users, they preferred "only" assembly and use of the satellite. Soldering and actual building of the satellite wasn't important for the majority of the users.
The first version of Kitsat was simpler and cheaper than the current satellite, but it was too weak and unreliable for harsh classroom use. Educational use is harder than launching a satellite into space!
So the upgraded version was done. It was good enough also for outdoor use: Kitsats can be flown with drones or sent to the stratosphere with a balloon. For the stratospheric flights, we also designed a special power unit with two batteries and heating.
The COVID pandemic slowed down the sales and use of Kitsats, and the global electronic component crisis added hurdles we had to jump over. Most of the electronics had to be modified, but this made the satellite even better and more reliable.
The first user of the Kitsats was Heureka Science Centre in Finland, and they helped us enormously in the development of the satellite. They are now with the ESERO Finland network the biggest user of the satellites and Spaceway of Portugal comes next.
Up to 1 May 2023 exactly 111 Kitsats have been shipped and our biggest-ever new batch is being built in our laboratory in Porvoo, not far away from Helsinki. After 5 years, Kitsat is now a proven concept and we can ship Kitsats right away when orders come in.
And yes, we have also something new in cooking, but now it is time to celebrate Kitsats.
(Map has been adjusted to September 2023 situation)