KickSat-1 Sprite Amateur Radio Frequencies

KickSat 437 MHz Sprite Satellite

KickSat 437 MHz Sprite Satellite

KickSat-1 is an amateur radio CubeSat technology demonstration mission designed to demonstrate the deployment and operation of 128 prototype Sprites (also referred to as ChipSats or femtosatellites) which were developed by radio amateur Zac Manchester KD2BHC at Cornell University.

315 individual sponsors donated $74,586 to the project through the crowd-source funding website Kickstarter.

KickSat-1 is planned to launch on ELaNa-5 / CRS-3 from Cape Canaveral in early 2014 into a 325 x 315 km 51.5 degree inclination orbit. The CubeSat will operate on 2401.2-2436.2 MHz and when deployed all the 128 Sprites will operate on a single frequency 437.240 MHz and use CDMA. It is believed this will be the largest ever single deployment of satellites.

It the UK both the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) and London Hackspace are developing Sprites for this mission.

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.

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.

Sprites in Space

Sprites in Space

KickSat is a 3U CubeSat being built to carry and deploy the 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. Approximately 128 will be stacked atop a spring-loaded pusher and secured by a nichrome burn wire system.

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 amateur radio satellite 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. The maximum orbital lifetime is estimated at 6 weeks.

KickSat Downlink Frequency: 2401.2-2436.2 MHz RF Output Power: 1W ITU Emission Designator: 350KF1D Description: AX.25 over FSK.

Sprite Frequency Band: 437.240 MHz. Output Power: 10 mW ITU Emission Designator: 50K0G1D. Description: MSK modulated binary data with each data bit modulated as a 511 bit PRN sequence. All Sprites operate on a single frequency and use CDMA.

Zac Manchester KD2BHC has said they are aiming for the Sprites to be receivable using an AMSAT-UK FUNcube Dongle SDR.

As well as KickSat-1 several other amateur radio CubeSats are being launched from Cape Canaveral in early 2014 on ELaNa-5 / CRS-3 into a 325 x 315km 51.5 degree inclination orbit. They are: DragonSat-1 – USNA and Drexel University, Trailblazer – University of New Mexico, PrintSat – Montana State University, All-Star/THEIA – University of Colorado, UNP-6 Radar Calibration CubeSat – University of Hawaii, PhoneSat – NASA ARC, MisST – NASA ARC.

More information from

The current KickSat and Ground Station source code is available at

KickSat – Zac Manchester KD2BHC Interview

BIS Sprite technical information

London Hackspace work on HackSat1

KickSat – a personal spacecraft of your own in space

Kicksat on Kickstarter

IARU Amateur Satellite Frequency Coordination Panel status page

Swedish Radio Show Features Hojun Song DS1SBO and OSSI CubeSat

Hojun Song DS1SBO and the NovaNano FlyMate deployer

On Monday, November 26 at 12:10 CET Swedish Radio broadcast a show about the Maker Movement that included an item on Hojun Song DS1SBO and the OSSI CubeSat that is planned to launch on a Soyuz-2-1b rocket into a 575 km 63° inclination orbit in April 2013.

The item featuring Hojun Song DS1SBO started about 1:20 into the show and the MP3 can be downloaded from

A picture and details of the show in Google English are at

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Space is the Place: Student Built Cube Satellites

CubeSats at San Mateo College Makerspace Launch Event

On September 10, the “MENTOR Makerspace” program kicked off with a special event held at the College of San Mateo. The MENTOR Makerspace program has a goal of introducing low-cost makerspaces into 1,000 high schools over the next three years.

NASA’s Matthew Reyes attended the event and in this interview with Tony Wan he explains how students from San Jose State University went from tinkering in their local TechShop to exploring the final frontier.

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Dr. Mark Hammond N8MH to speak at Space Colloquium

Dr Mark Hammond N8MH

The 27th AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium will be held on the weekend of 15-16 September at the Holiday Inn Hotel, Guildford, GU2 7XZ, England close to the University of Surrey. UPDATE: For a video of the presentation see

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Cambridge University Space Flight at EMF 2012 Milton Keynes

EMF 2012 badge of attendee Graham Shirville G3VZV

EMF 2012 badge of attendee Graham Shirville G3VZV

The technology camp EMF 2012 being held at Pineham Park, Milton Keynes runs from Friday August 31 to Sunday, September 2. BBC TV reports that two 20m high masts linked by microwaves have been erected for the event, one at the campsite and the other in the car park of a data centre 2.5 km away.

Among the weekend of presentations are some by radio amateurs such as Adam Greig M0RND (formerly M6AGG). Adam is a member of the UK High Altitude Society (UKHAS) and Cambridge University Space Flight (CUSF) and will be talking about High Altitude Ballooning. The balloons use 434 MHz for the telemetry and video image downlinks.

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Not your Grandfathers moon landing

Part-Time Scientists team members Robert Böhme and Karsten Becker

The Google Lunar X-Prize team Part-Time Scientists delivered a presentation Not your Grandfathers moon landing at the Chaos Communication Congress.

The YouTube description reads:

Karsten Becker, Robert Böhme: Not your Grandfathers moon landing
Hell yeah, it’s Rocket Science 3.1415926535897932384626!

The basics, we are team of part-time scientists and engineers who want to send a rover to the moon before the end of the year 2013. There is a lot to be done towards this first private moon landing and we want to take the chance to explore what we want to do and show what we already accomplished in the past 12 months. The talk will feature important technical milestone like our very first R3 rover prototype and great events like the CCCamp11. There is also be a live demonstration of the very first R3A rover right in the presentation.

We want to take this chance to present where we are and what is next to go on the worlds first private mission to the moon. 2011 was great and we want to show you some of our personal highlights like us actually doing real rocket science at the CCCamp11. We will have a close look at the first R3 Rover prototype how it got made and all the cool things we already did with it and going to test along the next year.

We’re aiming for a pretty quick and dense 30 minute review of 2011 with an outlook for 2012 and then do a live presentation of the R3 rover with an open Q&A round.

This time we split our efforts and got our most interesting presenters to enroll for separate talks on one self picked exciting topic they worked on this year in their own free time.

Watch 28c3: Not your Grandfathers moon landing

Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) issues the team encountered are discussed at 19:15 into the video.

A high quality version of this video can be downloaded from

In the second presentation Wes Faler talks about Evolving custom communication protocols – Hell Yeah, it’s rocket science

Even after years of committee review, communication protocols can certainly be hacked, sometimes highly entertainingly. What about creating a protocol the opposite way? Start with all the hacks that can be done and search for a protocol that gets around them all. Is it even possible? Part-Time Scientists has used a GPU to help design our moon mission protocols and we’ll show you the what and how. Danger: Real code will be shown!

Watch 28c3: Evolving custom communication protocols

A high quality version of this video can be downloaded from


Part-Time Scientists

Amateur Radio Lunar Rover

Deep Space Communications Array (COMRAY) (Project Leader Michael Doornbos N4LNX of Evadot)

Google Lunar X-Prize

Part Time Scientists Lunar Rover

Amateur Radio Lunar Rover

Google X-Prize Team – Part-Time Scientists

It’s 43 years since Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Now a group of volunteer hackers and engineers are about to send a privately-built amateur radio rover to the Moon.

Part Time Scientists Lunar Rover

Writing on ZD-Net Simon Bisson tells how the Part-Time Scientists team aim to win the Google Lunar X-Prize by landing their lunar rover on the Moon.

Simon says the Part-Time Scientists are putting together a cloud-linked global communications network [COMRAY] to handle radio links to their lander and rover (using amateur radio bands), there’s still too much lag in the system to deliver a hands-on driving experience. The rover needs to have some smarts in order to process information about its environment, while still handling input from a driver on Earth.

Read Simon Bisson’s article Home-brew hackers cook up Europe’s return to the Moon

Watch Part-Time Scientists testing their Lunar Rover

Part-Time Scientists

Deep Space Communications Array (COMRAY) (Project Leader Michael Doornbos N4LNX of Evadot)

Google Lunar X-Prize

UK to get Kickstarter crowd-sourced funding

A KickSat Sprite Satellite

The crowd-sourced funding website Kickstarter, which has been used for amateur radio projects in the USA, is to launch in the UK this autumn.

Radio ham Zac Manchester KD2BHC used Kickstarter to raise $74,586 in donations to fund the development and deployment of over a hundred amateur radio KickSat sprite satellites.

The amateur radio satellite project ArduSat managed to raise donations of $80,379 in just 26 days.

Kickstarter is not just about raising large sums of money, for example Sandy Antunes used Kickstarter to raise $2,780 to buy a ham radio transceiver and antennas to create an amateur radio satellite ground station Calliope

BBC News report



Video of ArduSat NASDAQ Interview

NanoSatisfi founder Peter Platzer appeared on the Japanese NASDAQ TV feed to talk about the ArduSat satellite.

ArduSat is an open-source arduino-based nanosatellite. It will have an extensive sensor-suite onboard and will allow users to upload their own code and run their own experiments.

ArduSat will use a GomSpace NanoCom U482C which is a half-duplex UHF transceiver, capable of up to 3W, operating in the 435-438 MHz amateur radio satellite band. It implements Forward Error Correction (FEC) and Viterbi coding based on the CCSDS standards in order to improve reliability and throughput of the space link.

The project is raising donations through the Kickstarter site at In just over a week they raised more than $43,000 in pledges from almost 300 donors.

Watch NanoSatisfi NASDAQ interview which is in English with Japanese sub-titles

Watch ArduSat Kickstarter Thank you

It is understanding the team are now aiming for a larger 2U CubeSat instead of the 1U originally planned.

ISIS CubeSat Structure Brochure


ArduSat Arduino CubeSat Technical Details

ArduSat Open Source CubeSat Next Phase in DIY Space Access

ArduSat Arduino CubeSat Update

NanoSatisfi was founded by Austrian-born Peter Platzer a former high-energy physicist (CERN), former Hedge Fund Quantitative Trader, avid HP-41 hacker and Arduino enthusiast, along with Belgian aerospace engineer Jeroen Cappaert intern at NASA Ames Research Center, Canadian aerospace engineer Joel Spark intern at EADS Astrium and Hungarian Reka Kovacs intern at NASA Ames Research Center working on alternative methods of public outreach for space science. The four founders met at the International Space University in Strasbourg and thought that they could do something to provide affordable, open-source space exploration for everyone.

Interview with author of DIY Satellite Platform

Tubesat - Image Credit Interorbital Systems

Have you ever wanted to build your own personal satellite but your last name doesn’t start with Gates or Branson? Well, now there’s good news. For the price of a car you can now build, test and launch your own personal satellite at home.

Dr. Sandy Antunes, Author of DIY Satellite Platform, talks about building his own amateur radio personal spacecraft Project Calliope. The best part (besides having your own satellite) is that you can now do some serious science.

Find out what kind of satellite Dr. Antunes is building and how he’s running the same kinds of tests the large Aerospace companies do, but for a fraction of the cost.

Project Calliope:

Watch How to build your own personal satellite

Dr. Sandy Antunes used Kickstarter to raise funds for the project

Amazon – DIY satellite Platform

Interorbital Systems