Press resources

Sending Your Own Spacecraft to the Moon Just Became a Reality

A new project to give thousands of people the opportunity to design, build and launch personalised spacecraft and send them to the moon has begun – Pocket Spacecraft: Mission to the Moon.

Now anyone can become a citizen space explorer and take part in a mission to send their own Pocket Spacecraft to the moon. At a cost of just GBP 99 (~EUR 119 / JPY 15499 / USD 159), explorers who back the project will be able to personalise their own spacecraft by adding a picture or message direct from their favourite social media or game profile or create their own unique design. They can do this from their smartphone or web browser and will be able to monitor progress throughout their mission with their own Pocket Mission Control app. Users will be able to track the progress of their spacecraft as it is designed, built in the lab and travels through space. More technical explorers will be able to write software and even customise the on-board hardware enabling them to conduct their own unique experiments whether mapping the solar wind or playing laser tag – in space!

Pocket Spacecraft are disks with flexible electronics, smaller than a CD and as thin as a piece of paper, that will be loaded into an Interplanetary CubeSat mothership to hitch a ride into space on a commercial rocket. The mothership will then set off to the moon and when it arrives many months later, the fleet of Pocket Spacecraft will be photographed as they are released to land on the moon to complete their mission.

Anyone can take part in the mission via the projects web site The global team of scientists, engineers and designers behind Pocket Spacecraft have already created two dozen open space projects for the mission since 2009, supported by more than a hundred volunteers from twenty countries (and counting) led by co-ordinators in Europe (Bristol, UK) and America (Pasadena, CA, USA).

Michael Johnson, founder of Pocket Spacecraft, co-created the first space mission funded on KickStarter (KickSat – due to be launched by NASA later this year), and influential workshops such as the Interplanetary CubeSat Workshop at MIT, and the Keck Institute for Space Studies Small Satellites: A Revolution in Space Science workshop at Caltech.

“By backing this mission people will revolutionise space exploration and space science” enthuses Michael. “By democratising interplanetary space exploration we will create a generation of young explorers who can use the same affordable methods to explore Mars, Venus and beyond. We’re building tools so that one day every child will be able to send their own spacecraft on a robotic field trip in space”.

MEDIA RELATIONS:  | PHONE +44 117 230 2060 / +1 626 768 2050

Helen White (Media Relations)

Michael Johnson (Founder)

Seth Jackson (Partnership enquiries)

Online video

Audio/video only version (no subtitles)

Direct link to Vimeo for high resolution (1080p) downloadable version and embed codes.

Subtitled version (English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish)

Direct link to Vimeo for medium resolution (480p) downloadable version and embed codes.

Graphics for publication

ScoutPrototypePhotograph of a prototype Pocket Spacecraft: Thin-Film Scout
20130627a_Scouts and slicesBackers can upload a profile picture/avatar to a (left) or school, club or company pennant (middle) to a shared spacecraft, or customise the whole of an Earth or Lunar Scout personal spacecraft! (right)
Photograph of a Pocket Spacecraft: Thin-Film Scout prototype consisting of a polyimide substrate, bonded solar cells and thinned die, printed passive components, antennas and images.
The Pocket Mission Control main menu (a) allows you to pick which of your spacecraft you wish to review (b), see its design (c), monitor your spacecraft telemetry (d), onboard apps (e), your training achievements (f), ground station status (g), and where your spacecraft is in space (h)
5µm metalised and unmetalised polyimide substrate (Kapton®) with a penny for scale.