The October 2015 Issue of Wired Magazine has a short article about Thumb Sats. These are 16 inch long microsatellites that can carry small experiments into space for low cost. The Thumb Sats piggy back on launches of bigger payloads. There data is received by a global network of stations monitored by volunteers, including a Boy Scout Troop in Wisonsin. The satellites, (which are equiped with onboard GPS) stay aloft for 2 months afer launch, before they burn up in Earth's atmosphere.