Are you a citizen scientist with a satellite payload idea? Then this might be the program for you: Citizens in Space.
Citizens in Space would like you to develop an actual experiment, one in which you’ll be surprised by the outcome, no matter what the outcome is. They’d like you to keep the payload experiment within the physical limits of a cubesat (or two). The contest is forward-looking in that the size limits will help make the cubesats “swappable” among launch service providers.
They’re also looking for someone to conduct these payload experiments during flight. Yes, that’s right, you could also be a citizen astronaut. They’ve already chosen three citizen astronaut candidates, but are looking for seven more. They’d like to have selected all citizen astronaut candidates in the next year or two.
Top prize for an experiment will be $10,000. It looks like they wanted the experimental hardware completed in 2013, but there is no apparent real deadline just yet. You can find those details, or lack thereof, here. The ambiguity of the timeline for this contest may be because XCOR Aerospace is still not completed with their sub-orbital Lynx (model pictured above), just yet. And XCOR is the company Citizens in Space contracted with to get some of these experimental payloads up into space–if only for a few minutes.
If you need some inspiration, they do have a page full of payload experiment ideas, here. It might be worth your while, if they’re still taking experiments for the contest. Or, take a shot at being a citizen astronaut.