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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EQUiSat Optical Beacon CubeSat

EQUiSat – Image Credit Brown University

Students at the Ivy League Brown University are developing an amateur radio satellite EQUiSat.

It will carry a Xenon Flash Tube (XFT) subsystem to act as an Optical Beacon that should be visible to the unaided eye of observers on Earth. The Radio Beacon is planned to operate in the 435-438 MHz band.

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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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OSSI CubeSat to Launch in December

Funds for the OSSI CubeSat have been raised by selling T-shirts

The amateur radio CubeSat OSSI is planned to launch in December according to an Antara News article. [UPDATE rocket launch has been delayed and may now be April 2013]

The article describes how Korean artist Hojun Song DS1SBO developed his own home made satellite and says radio operators will be able to communicate with the satellite. If all goes well, it will repeat a message in Morse code using its LED lights at a set time and location.

The DIY satellite OSSI is planned to launch on a Soyuz-2-1b from the Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan in December with the Bion-M 1 and Dove 2 satellites. (The Dove 2 CubeSat will transmit images on a 2.4 GHz downlink). The satellites will be placed into an orbit with an apogee of 575 km, perigee of 290 km and inclination of 64.9 degrees. They are expected to remain in orbit for about a year before burning up on re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

The OSSI uplink is in the 145 MHz band and the downlink in the 435 MHz band.

Read the Antara News story Homemade Korean satellite to go boldly into space

Read the Telegraph newspaper article South Korean artist set to launch homemade satellite

Daily Mail newspaper Watch out, Nasa! Korean launches $500 satellite built from scavenged parts – and could kick off a DIY space race

The Times of India Artist makes satellite at home in just $500

BBC TV report South Korean artist has high hopes for his homemade satellite

Open Source Satellite Initiative (OSSI)

OSSI CubeSat – Ground Station Video

OSSI Art CubeSat to Launch in August

Korean artist Hojun Song DS1SBO creator of the OSSI CubeSat