Crowdfunding space exploration

Not a lot of people know that Groupon started out life as a project to try and put a giant inflatable banana into orbit over Texas, but it did. When I first saw Andrew Mason pitch, the idea was called ThePoint and it was essentially an early version of Kickstarter whereby projects would only get funded if they reached a particular target. Â The banana project was going to cost $1.5 million.

Now the dream of putting things into space using crowdfunding seems to be coming true (not inflatable bananas yet, but it can only be a matter of time). There are quite a few projects putting CubeSats, weather balloons and other micro spacecraft into orbit and I met the people behind a project in Bristol last week that is even more ambitious and due to announce in the next few weeks. It seems that not even the most monolithic of industries can resist the crowd.
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