It will be one of (if not the) first crowdfunded satellite in space, and will take panoramic, wide-field images of the Earth, broadcast a sponsor's message as 'a tweet from space' in orbit, and when the mission is done, it will deliberately de-orbit itself by inflating an onboard balloon.

SkyCube is a 10x10x10 centimeter CubeSat (cube satellite)
SkyCube is a 10x10x10 centimeter cube satellite

The balloon will briefly serve to make the satellite visible (it's big enough to see from Earth) before dragging the satellite into the atmosphere and vaporising it, like a meteor, to prevent any space debris. Control of the satellite for a few minutes will set you back as little as $20.

Tim DeBenedictis, creator of SkyCube, explained to TechRadar how personal satellites will become more common in the near future. "By far, big aerospace companies and national government spend way more $ on these items than private citizens.

What has changed is that it is now possible for private citizens or small companies to put small satellites in orbit. That was not true 10 years ago. It's still not exactly inexpensive - our whole project budget will end up around $250,000 - but that is a heck of a lot less than most dedicated space missions to date."

SkyCube
Will this type of thing really be common in future?

4. A tour operator

There is, however, an element of competition, and the big boys like Virgin and XCOR are rapidly progressing with their consumer space-travel projects, namely Virgin Galactic and The Lynx Rocketplane respectively.

Big money will always be able to drive costs down and compete with the little guys, but in this case it's actually cheaper to go with the crowdfunded projects.

The basic Virgin Galactic space exploration package (we assume that they provide all necessary travel gear such as a spacesuit) will cost $200,000. The premium package will cost $1m, which will let you and five of your friends hire out the shuttle for the day.

Aside from being cheaper, you're also missing out on the community feeling that comes with a crowdfunded project. The Hermes Spacecraft, the 3G suit and SkyCube have been created and funded by the people who have seen it grow from conception to product.

This isn't just a profiteering exercise or an attempt to dominate a sector - no, it's a labor of love for these engineers and that makes these backyard projects so much more appealing.

Hermes
Would you trust one of these?

Also - and probably more importantly - the crowdfunded projects are more upfront about when you'll be able to use these products. The Hermes Spacecraft for example is expecting to take people into space within the next four years, whereas Virgin Galactic have declined to put a date on when their maiden voyage will be.

So ask for that pay rise, put in the extra hours and chuck some money into a high-interest ISA. You're going to need that cash in four years' time for a 2.5 hour trip into space.