Open NASA @ Ideascale (api) is interesting
A Cube Sat Web is a self funded open source project.
A flying Cube Sat costs about as much as car, but here's a way to see one on orbit for free.
The Cube Sat is a camera with a long fixed focal length cassegrain aperture.
The camera is a CMOS sensor with memory connected to a radio transmitter. It takes a still image at a scheduled time in the future. It downloads an image from memory on command. The image metadata includes satellite telemetry and time stamp.
The Web runs on Google App Engine. A logged in user can schedule a photograph, receive it and share it.
The full sourcecode for the web application is in open source, so anyone can copy the web site to charge fees or accept donations in order to fund the building and launch of a Cube Sat. So, caveat emptor applies.
Cube Sat Web can be social or grouping or independent.
Of course people are doing many things like this, for example WikiSat.
This essay is a cool example for Gap Data, and writing down the idea in one place.
The Cube Sat camera can use rotation with time in its photo command. Rotation is relative to the frames received. The time is in future or as soon as possible.
Telemetry and telecommand needs one or many radio ground stations. Some may be able to offer ground station design and construction. The Cube Sat Web may register and schedule ground stations, or receive upload data files.
Web User Interface
The Cube Sat Web user interface presents the telecommand of historical moments in the chain of photography. The image store could be Flikr, Picassa, Apps or S3. User telecommand input can be interpreted for a nearest neighbor, in camera flying and archive views. (Placeholder image, time lapse motion lines are more realistic)
Weather balloon flights can generate interest, and test hardware with temperature and distance. Suspended on its orbital axis, a balloon flight can demonstrate camera rotation control.
Cube Sat Web Prize
A two balloon flight imaging each other simultaneously in live radio image retrieval. Electrical and optical techniques exclusively.
A shutter should protect the aperture from entering Sunlight via sun sensors. Hardware based solar protection on orbit simplifies the security model to one virtually public.
Knowledge Base Development
An article for Open NASA @ Ideascale tries to present simple ideas from concurrent and knowledge based engineering. These ideas are very productive for web sites.
As an illustration, this blog post could be the root of a tree of project requirements, design and development data.
My own personal notes for Gap Data are available here.