Sure, if you're Richard Branson or Paul Allen you can write a blank check to launch a spaceship—and why wouldn't you? But that doesn't mean you can't join the space race on a scale that's more comparable to the way Branson and Allen worked a few decades ago when both were scrappy young entrepreneurs. In fact, if you've got about $80,000, you can build and launch a satellite, thanks to the CubeSat program from Stanford and California Polytechnic. The CubeSat, which its developer calls the Apple II of space exploration, is two-pound cube that can be built for about $40,000 and launched into low-earth orbit for another $40K. At that price, the birds are proving popular with everyone from high school classes to Romanian scientists. Unfortunately, although assembly can be a DIY affair, you still can't launch it yourself, no matter how much time you spent firing off Estes rockets as a kid (launches are done back at Cal Poly).