Most cubesats, other smallsats, and small probes are designed, funded, and launched by small teams (often associated with education/research institutions) at the smallest.

By "auteur", I mean a concept similar to the concept in the world of film: A single private person who plans (and often funds) the enterprise and has a very high (not necessarily absolute) level of personal control over goals, design, sanctioning, mission plan, and other aspects of a mission.

With the cost of launching a cubesat at maybe $200K USD and plenty of rich people in the world, one might expect some of this kind of space mission to have been run.

(I am not expecting every bit of work to have been done by the auteur, let alone building/operating the launch vehicle. They might contract out a lot of stuff. The point is that it's a mission that's a single person's domain rather than a collaborative effort with multiple stakeholders.)

Are there any satellites or probes that have been launched by "auteurs" according to this defiinition?

  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean that the booster was created by the auteurs as well, or just the payload? Your use of "launched" makes me think of the booster. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 13, 2020 at 20:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Assuming you don't mean the booster, there's this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital_Reflector $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 13, 2020 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ No, I'm just talking about the payload. Things can be contracted out; the basic idea is that it's a mission that one person had an immense amount of sanctioning and creative control over. $\endgroup$
    – ikrase
    Commented Mar 14, 2020 at 1:46
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the clarification. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 14, 2020 at 2:01
  • $\begingroup$ per OM's comment: Attitude of the upcoming “Orbital Reflector”; will it result in good visibility? Based on the press release somebody should probably write up an answer there saying the question is now moot. :-) $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Mar 14, 2020 at 6:07


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