KickSat 1 [Ben Bishop]
Sprite [Cornell University]
KickSat is an amateur radio CubeSat technology demonstration mission designed to demonstrate the deployment and operation of prototype Sprite “ChipSats” (femtosatellites) developed at Cornell University by Zac Manchester.
ChipSats like the Sprite represent a disruptive new space technology that will both open space access to hobbyists and students and enable new types of science missions. A significant portion of the KickSat mission has been financed by over 300 individual sponsors through the crowd-source funding website Kickstarter.
The Sprite is a tiny spacecraft that includes power, sensor, and communication systems on a printed circuit board measuring 3.5 by 3.5 cm with a thickness of 2.5 mm and a mass of about 5 grams. It is intended as a general-purpose sensor platform for micro-electro-mechanical (MEMS) or other chip-scale sensors with the ability to downlink data to ground stations from LEO.
KickSat is a 3U CubeSat being built to carry and deploy up to 128 Sprites. A 1U avionics bus will provide power, communications, and command and data handling functions. A 2U deployer has been developed to house the Sprites. 128 Sprites can be stacked atop a spring-loaded pusher and secured by a nichrome burn wire system. Fort the flight, only 104 Sprites will be on board.
After being released from the P-POD, KickSat will perform a de-tumble maneuver and establish communication with Cornell’s ground station. After check-out, the spacecraft will be put in a sun-pointing attitude and spun up to maintain that attitude.
A command signal from the ground station will then trigger the deployment and the Sprites will be released as free-flying spacecraft. After deployment, telemetry and sensor measurements from the individual Sprites will be received through Cornell’s ground station in Ithaca, NY, as well as several other amateur radio ground stations throughout the world.
The Sprites are expected to reenter the atmosphere and burn up within a few days or weeks depending on atmospheric conditions. Their worst-case maximum orbital lifetime is estimated at 6 weeks.
The development team are currently investigating uses for the KickSat bus after the Sprite deployment and are seeking collaborators who could make use of its capabilities as part of an extended mission.
Several CubeSats are being launched together on ELaNa-5 / CRS-3. Launch parameters are 325 × 315km 51.5° inclination on a launch from Cape Canaveral. Planned launch date is March 2014.
Kicksat-1 will operate on 2401.2-2436.2 MHz and when deployed all the 104 Sprites will operate on a single frequency 437.240 MHz and use CDMA. It is believed this will be the largest ever deployment of satellites.
|Type / Application:||Technology|
|Equipment:||128 slot deployer for Sprites, 104 Sprites on board|
|Power:||Solar cells, batteries|
|KickSat 1||-||2014||CC SLC-40||Falcon-9R||with Dragon CRS-3, ALL-STAR/THEIA, SporeSat, TSAT, PhoneSat 2.5|