It's not difficult to build a spacecraft and if you don't believe me, just ask Luke Geissbuhler. He even took pictures.
Homemade Spacecraft from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo.
Geisbuhler is a photographer who used commercially available camera equipment, an I-phone and a hand-warmer to film what happens in space according to the press release "Go Pro Hero HD camera used to film outer space" on the Prokit video production website.
Luke Geissbuhler created a miniature spacecraft in order to view footage, using the Go Pro Hero HD camera placed in a Styrofoam box as his recording tool.Geissbuhler admits that he's not the first person to do this. He also concedes that there is quite a bit of terrestrial paperwork involved in the attempt. On his Vimeo hosted website, titled "Homemade Spacecraft" he states:
The photographer put an iPhone within the box in order to trace the device with its GPS facility and a hand-warmer to keep the equipment working in sub-zero temperatures when he launched it via a helium-filled balloon in August 2010.
You do need FAA approval and notification. The craft was built within FAA regulations for weather balloon payload which I highly recommend adhering to. We also made sure to launch out of city air space.Paperwork or not, Geissbuhler has given us a really good example of what can be done working from a small budget with off the shelf components. Larger organizations performing scientific research and complaining about the lack of funding might just want to take note of this little experiment.