New launch dates for KickSat and its 104 Sprite satellites

SpaceX Falcon-9 CRS-3 Mission Patch

SpaceX Falcon-9 CRS-3 Mission Patch
Note the CubeSats coming out of the upper stage of the rocket on the left

Zac Manchester KD2BHC has released new launch information on the KickSat CubeSat which will carry 104 tiny Sprite satellites into a 325×315 km 51.5 degree inclination orbit. The launch will be broadcast live on NASA TV, which will also be streaming on Ustream.

The primary launch date for the SpaceX Falcon 9 CRS 3 mission from the Kennedy Space Center will be March 31 at 0250 GMT. There is also a backup date of April 4 at 0140 GMT.

Here is a revised sequence of events for the mission assuming the March 31 primary launch date:
• Falcon 9 liftoff (0250 GMT)
• Falcon stage separation (0253 GMT)
• Falcon 2nd stage engine cutoff and Dragon Separation (0259 GMT)
• KickSat deployment (0353 GMT)
• KickSat radio beacon power-on (0443 GMT)
• Sprite deployment (0353 GMT on April 16)

If you’re a Radio Ham, the KickSat team would love to have you listening for KickSat’s beacon. Check out their wiki page and Google Group for more information. Once KickSat turns on its radio, you should be able to pick it up with very basic amateur radio gear. It will be transmitting telemetry packets in AX.25 format on 437.505 MHz with 1200 baud AFSK modulation. KickSat’s orbital elements will be posted on the project wiki, which will also have more information on setting up a receiving station.

KickSat 437 MHz Sprite Satellite

KickSat 437 MHz Sprite Satellite

All the Sprites satellites operate on a single frequency of 437.240 MHz and use Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). Each transmitter runs 10 mW output of Minimum Shift Keying (MSK) modulated binary data with each data bit modulated as a 511 bit Pseudo-Random Number (PRN) sequence. The ITU emission designator is 50K0G1D. The KickSat CubeSat has two downlinks, 1200 bps FM AX.25 on 437.505 MHz and 1 watt on 2401-2436.2 MHz.

Wiki KickSat radio information

KickSat Google Group!forum/kicksat-gs

Mass Launch of 437 MHz Satellites

KickSat Sprite Ground Station by Andy Thomas G0SFJ

British Interplanetary Society: Sprite Technical Summary

KickSat on KickStarter