The objective of the projects lead in the Federation frame is to generate open source space hardware creation, which will be documented on the platform. Which leads to the question:


What is open source hardware?

This is a material whose design is documented and published:

  • detailed list of components (""bill of materials"")
  • design documents (CAD files, electronic diagrams, photos, plans ...)
  • assembly manual
  • user manual

Once these four elements are published (freely available), the material can be called open source. The documentation is therefore at the heart of the projects that are carried out within the framework of Federation.

Where to start?

There are many ways to get started designing and manufacturing open source space hardware. Here are some possible entry points.

Browse Existing Federation Projects

One of the best ways to learn is to do! Check out the list of projects in progress, look at the different tasks in progress, select one that interests you, and get started. Project team members will be able to help you on the next steps to learn what you will need to complete this first task, and many more to follow.

Using the resources available online

A good entry point to discover the breadth of the open source space ecosystem is the Federation knowledge base, in wiki format.

Start by making existing open source space hardware

For example, why not start with a SatNOGS ground receiving station? Not only will you discover the basics of electronics and radio, but you will also help expand a global network of satellite receiving antennas in orbit.

If this is the observation that motivates you, you might want to start with an Ultrascope: a robotic telescope controlled by a smartphone.

Ask to have a "sponsor"" among Open Space Makers active members

Because we sometimes need to be guided, you can manifest on the forum dedicated to sponsorships for an active member of the association Open Space Makers become your sponsor, a reference person to help you take your first steps in the Federation.

Online courses created for Federation

This is not yet available, but it is under development!
Introduction to project management, the tools needed to make space hardware in his fablab ...


A question of language

Many resources available online are now available in English, and it is the language that allows the widest possible dissemination of the content produced. This can make it difficult to get involved when you do not speak that language. It is in the spirit of inclusion of all that we push, through the Federation, the creation of resources in French.

Project creators, however, have the option of publishing their project in English. But our recommendation is to do it both in French and in English, so as to promote wide dissemination and better inclusion.

What software tools to use?

Beyond offering the possibility to create a page dedicated to your project on the Federation platform and to have a dedicated forum for project team exchanges, many tools can be used to contribute to the collaborative development of your space materials. open source. Here are some examples:


Collaboration tools and project management

The Federation platform now provides projects with three main tools to support online collaboration:

  • RocketChat, an open source persistent chat tool, widely used by software development project teams in particular. 
  • OpenProject is an online project management application, it allows the management of task lists, activities, the creation of Gantt charts, resource management...
  • Gitlab is a software forge that combines version management features with a wiki, a bug tracking tool and continuous integration.


Computer Aided Design (CAD) Tools

  • FreeCAD, a free 3D modeling software for CAD, CAE, PLM, oriented to mechanical engineering and product design.

Many other tools, open source or not, free or not, exist to realize your designs. The key point to take into account when selecting one of these tools is to make sure that they are capable of generating files in standard formats, which can be viewed and edited with other software than the one used to create them.


PCB Design Tools

  • KiCad, a free design software suite for electronics for drawing electronic schematics and PCB design. It is the tool most widely used by the maker community.
  • Fritzing is also a free printed circuit design software that allows you to design the entire circuit graphically and print the artwork.

Fluid mechanics simulation tools
OpenFOAM is a multi-physics simulation toolbox mainly focused on solving fluid mechanics equations. It is a free tool, which can for example be used to study the aerodynamics of a launcher.


Various Free Tools

Many of the proprietary tools we use on a daily basis have a free alternative. If you are curious to find these alternatives, you can start by consulting the website Degogoglisons Internet maintained by Framasoft.

How to join a third place?

Third-party collaborative manufacturing sites (fablabs, hackerspaces, makerspaces) are privileged spaces for learning new skills, and for help and advice in carrying out a space equipment project.
The ideal is to join one who is close to home, proximity and ease of access are often determining factors that make it go regularly or not. And the more we go regularly, the more we learn and the more we advance on his projects!

Several tracks to find a third place close to home:

There is not necessarily in these third places team leading space project in the framework of Federation to this day, but it's up to you to launch! For example, by linking with teams acting in other third places.

You will also find on our dedicated page a list of the third places in which identified projects are already carried out within the framework of Federation.

There is no standard procedure to become a member of a third-place, but most of the time you simply contact them via their site, a date of visit will be proposed to you, and on the spot you will be then guided for the next steps, if the visit has put stars in your eyes!"