Final Push: Help Uwingu Create a New Concept for Funding Space Exploration and Astronomy

Article written: 22 Sep , 2012
Updated: 23 Dec , 2015
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We’ve written about Uwingu previously, and this creative new concept for creating funding for space exploration and astronomy is now in their final push to reach their Indigogo goal of raising an initial $75,000 through their Indiegogo page (similar to Kickstarter) to get the company going. After that, they hope to be self-sufficient and build enough resources to be a source of grants and funding for space and astronomy research. Indigogo provided the group a rare extension in their funding-raising drive, which now goes through Monday night, September 24 at 11:59PM Pacific Time.

Why Uwingu?

“It seems like every single year there is a funding problem for space researchers and educators, and every year it is something different,” said one the people behind Uwingu, Alan Stern, speaking on Colorado Public Radio. “It’s the economy or Congress or budget overruns, or cuts from the presidential administration, but every year there is a budget battle. … We started to think, what could we do that could make a difference?”

Stern is a huge name in the space and planetary science community, and he’s currently the principal investigator on the New Horizons mission to Pluto, and was formerly Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate.

Stern and the impressive group of individuals from the space and astronomy community who have teamed up to do this had the idea of creating a for-profit company that sells space themed products that children, educators, hobbyists — a wide range of people — who can purchase and enjoy. Half of all revenue go towards funding space research and education, and the other will go towards the costs of creating what they sell. Plans are to sell entertaining and educational apps about space and other themes, starting next month.

“We are asking people to go the Indiegogo page, take a look and consider participating, and then to please pass it on to others you know.” Stern told Universe Today. “For everyone 10 people you send it to, maybe one will contribute. This needs to grow organically by people passing it on through the internet. We’re hoping the space and astronomy people will help give us a start, but when it launches with the real first products out into the broader public, we think it will be a real breakout.”

“If we can get that message across, I think it will fly. I have faith in this,” Stern added.

As the funding period closes out, Stern will be on the Coast-to-Coast radio show with George Noory from 10-midnight PDT on Monday, September 24, so listen to him talk about Uwingu, New Horizons and the other missions he is part of.

To contribute to the project, or to learn more about Uwingu, visit the company’s Indiegogo page: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/180221

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5 Responses

  1. Sam Juvonen says

    Explain to me like I’m stupid, please. While I support the IDEA, I have some reservations. They are creating a start-up, for-profit company with crowdfunding on $75,000? I see a couple problems with this.

    They say they are going to make millions, if not tens of millions dollars ANNUALLY to plow into space research. But they mention no products, no business plan, and don’t seem to have any business people on board. Everybody in the company already has a day job they are unlikely to give up – who is going to run this multimillion dollar enterprise? You can hire maybe one person on that $75,000. And how long is the turnaround into multimillion dollar business going to take?

    I don’t get it. They have products in the pipeline that will generate millions in profits (not just revenue!), but they need just $75K to make it all happen? I know the names of some of these people from reading about science over the years, and I believe them to be honest and sincere, but I get this kind of pitch in my spam filter all the time.

    Why would I donate to Uwingu instead of, say, The Planetary Society?

    • Dav_Daddy says

      I agree I have had the some of the same thoughts myself. Curiously I would be more inclined to contribute if they were looking for a half mil or so..

      I too recognize a number of names of those involved and have no doubt they are honest and very smart people.

      Actually I guess this would make sense if they had a killer product in the pipeline and need the $ for a production run or such?

      Idk I’ll have to remember to keep an eye oh this. If they are real close on the day b4 I may have to chip in.

    • danangel says

      If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck…….
      I’m with you, I delete dozens of these every day in my spam folder.

  2. Guest says

    yes, the IDEA is easily supportable. What people want when they donate to a purpose is the assurance that the money will go where they expect it to with oversight that can be trusted. (this is a general statement an nothing to do with the people on this initiative)
    An open conduit directly to the agencies coffers which will be used to continue and bolster it’s operation.
    A simple transparent bank account.
    There is no need to create educational products because the entire endevour is educational!
    The small starting capital reminds me of the expert craftsman who loses work because he charges too little.
    Also, the major players in the IT arena should be aware of this because it’s their products we are using to follow along with.
    There is a huge audience for space exploration and many way to make money on the results. Infotainment!

  3. Peristroika says

    Sorry but I contribute to charities, not for-profit entities that could easily start up on 5000 bucks each from their backers. If you want to cut me in to dividends or shares then maybe It’s worth my moola but just handing away my cash so you can make more is non-intuitive.

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