LibreCube supports the definition, development and operation of modular, low-cost, space standards-compliant, open source elements that can be combined to form complex systems for exploration. Of course, there are many other organizations that promote modular systems, such as modular robots or modular drones. LibreCube however is the first one to adopt a space engineering approach for our exploration elements. That means, our system are designed to survive in space, on earth, and other planets. We think this makes a huge difference!

Below you can find answer to commonly asked questions regarding LibreCube. If there is still a question, please get in contact with us.

What is LibreCube?

LibreCube is foremost a community of diverse people with mutual interest in making space and earth exploration missions affordable to everyone by means of open source and freely sharing of knowledge. LibreCube hosts this website to provide information on released and ongoing projects.

Why the name LibreCube?

Cube refers to the fact that the inspiration came from the CubeSat program. Libre refers to the free and open source philosophy that we apply and that is similar to the one associated with free software.

How is LibreCube organized?

It is organized in the form of a non-profit organization, to which everyone can join.

How can I get involved?

You can get involved in various ways. For example, by providing feedback on how you used LibreCube elements for your mission and and if you found things to improve or correct. Or propose a new project in the form of a work package. For this, head to the contribute page.

Can I get paid for contributing to LibreCube?

The main motivation for people contributing to LibreCube is not because of money, but for the cause that we strive for: to allow access and utilization of space to all. In fact, LibreCube does not control a budget to spend on projects. Almost all work is done on a voluntary basis. Nevertheless, there are sometimes opportunities to get funding for individual contributions. This will be discussed on case by case basis.

How to get in contact with the community?

If you have not done yet, consider joining the mailing list as first step. Find more details on the community page.

Why is LibreCube not using GitHub, Microsoft Office, Skype, Matlab…?

For everything we do, we like to rely solely on open source software. That includes desktop applications as well also remote web services. This will allow us to continue using the software/service even if the company behind it has vanished or goes in a direction that we don’t favor. For example, it is possible to set up a gitlab server by yourself, whereas for github you depend on the availability of their service. There are many alternatives to proprietary software available. The website osalt.com lists a few of them.

Why the strong focus on open source?

It is because (digital) freedom is a prime matter for us. We (potentially) want to know what is going on in the systems we use and operate. We don’t want to depend on companies to tell us how to do things. But most of all, we want everyone on the planet (that has a computer, at least) be able to study and reproduce LibreCube elements. No license fee involved!

Why (space) standards? Don’t they limit innovation?

Standards are important to ensure compatibility. Without standards, the reference architecture of LibreCube would not work, and a huge amount of customization and adaption would be needed to even prepare a single mission. On the other hand, we limit the use of standards to a reasonable minimum. Standards mostly cover the ares where elements interface with each other. The inner workings and technologies of the elements then is where creativity and innovation takes place – and where developers excel.