What is SpaceGAMBIT?
SpaceGAMBIT is an organization that helps coordinate and fund open-source aerospace projects, with the aim of democratizing access to space, crowdsourcing innovation, and getting humanity to the stars sooner. We work with hackers, makers, and citizen scientists around the world to make this happen.
We were formerly a federally (USA government) funded program run by Maui Makers, a not-for-profit makerspace on Maui, Hawaii USA, with international collaborating partners and advisors. We are now rebuilding SpaceGAMBIT and seeking partners, advisors, and sponsors.
What kind of projects do you fund?
See our Call for Projects for details. We have previously funded projects related to:
- Enhancing humanity’s survivability and sustainability in space
- Finding asteroids that pose a threat to human populations, and knowing what to do about them (in association with NASA’s Asteroid Grand Challenge)
We will base future calls for projects on recommendations from the maker community, partners and sponsors.
Does the project have to be space-related?
While our vision is humanity becoming a spacefaring civilization, we recognize that is a long journey. There are many small steps, in many fields along the way. These steps may not have immediate application in space. For example, humanity is not ready to farm in space and on other planets, but there are many experiments we can do on Earth that someday might apply to these endeavors.
An important aspect to us is a world population trained in a wide range of skills. As well as purely technical projects, those that provide educational resources for ‘maker’ skills and community workshops are of interest to SpaceGAMBIT.
Does everything have to be through a community space?
DIY is great, but DIWO (Doing It With Others) has a larger impact on the community and the world. Doing stuff all alone in a castle at the top of a mountain doesn’t help humanity.
The maker movement and community spaces are changing the way the world innovates. We’re in an age where the tools and technology are becoming freely available for anyone to build anything. We value this non-traditional approach and work with the wide community of associated makers, tinkerers, coders, and citizen scientists.
We fund projects that have such a community space involved as a primary partner. Additional partnerships with academia, industry, government, or other organizations are always welcome.
Our definition of community space is broad. If you belong to a group of more than three people that make stuff together and share tools and space you probably qualify. This includes high school shop class, fablabs, makerspaces, hackerspaces, garages with lots of friends, clubs, college facilities, etc.
Why does everything have to be open source?
Our goal is to move humanity towards a spacefaring civilization. That means ALL of humanity. With open source, open hardware and open documentation the technology can spread far and wide and enable more people to share it, adapt it, and get humanity to the stars sooner.
As an example, nano-satellites are changing the world, in large part because the Cubesat standard is an open standard, allowing anyone to build their own or modify as they see fit. In 2014 alone, almost 120 Cubesats were launched.
If I put together a project, can you help me get it into space?
Getting things into space is expensive – generally “way beyond our entire budget” expensive. We have some industry partners who may be able to help, and are always looking for more.
Why don’t you fund rockets?
Legal reasons. In short, rocketry is covered under ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations). This means that sharing rocket technology is potentially criminal.
Time and Money
Why such small time and money budgets?
We have a small budget ourselves and need to have work completed (including write-ups) quickly! We are looking for projects that can exemplify the quick and innovative maker style.
$20,000? That’s not enough for real space research!
We’re not expecting to fund the next Curiosity Rover, build a Dyson Sphere, or even launch a sub-orbital experiment. Our funding is just to get you started. After that we can find crowdfunding, approach angel investors or do whatever it is you gotta do. The worldwide community building efforts of SpaceGAMBIT may help with this follow-through.
Why do I need to do accounting for the project?
We are legally accountable for our expenses in this project. We have to file reports to show we are being legitimate in our activities. That includes how the money is spent when we pass it along on these funded sub-projects.
How can I do the accounting?
Accounting must be done to Standard Accounting Practice and we will require electronic submissions. Formats, and details are being developed.
What happens if we need more money?
Everyone ALWAYS needs more money. Finding additional/alternative sources is part of the overall SpaceGAMBIT program. There are a growing number of crowdsourcing options as well as VC or angel investors.