PRN codes for KickSat Sprites released

Cornell KickSat Antenna

Cornell KickSat Antenna

Zac Manchester KD2BHC has posted another update 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.

UPDATE: The launch has been postponed, see http://spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/009/140327delay/ For latest date check http://spaceflightnow.com/tracking/

SpaceX Falcon-9 CRS-3 Mission Patch

SpaceX Falcon-9 CRS-3 Mission Patch

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.

Zac says “Since a laptop can only decode one or two Sprite signals at a time, I’ve also been busy getting our radio upload page set up so that you can record a pass without having to decode it in real-time, upload the .wav file, and have all 104 Sprite signals decoded on our server with the results emailed back to you. This will also help our team collect as much data as possible from around the world. The page will be live before launch.”

All of the 104 Sprite satellites transmit on the same frequency. Each Sprite has a unique pair of Pseudo-Random Number (PRN) codes that it encodes its transmissions with, allowing a receiver to tell the Sprites apart (this is known as CDMA). A list of all Sprite PRN codes codes is available at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ArAGbHISj5okdEhBbkZiWGxBSjNmcEs4ZkgwMmNsUEE&usp=sharing

KickSat Sprite satellites deployed - Image by Ben Bishop VK2FBRB

KickSat Sprite satellites deployed – Image by Ben Bishop VK2FBRB

Read KickSat Update 62

KickSat Google Group https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum

KickSat Sprite Ground Station by Andy Thomas G0SFJ http://kicksat.wordpress.com/support/kicksat-ground-station/

British Interplanetary Society: Sprite Technical Summary http://www.bis-space.com/2013/03/09/9301/kicksat-technical-summary

KickSat Amateur Radio Information
https://github.com/zacinaction/kicksat/wiki/Radio-Info

Setting up a ground station
https://github.com/zacinaction/kicksat/wiki/Setting-Up-A-Ground-Station

Watch a video of the planned deployment at
https://amsat-uk.org/2014/03/03/mass-launch-of-437-mhz-satellites/

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 https://github.com/zacinaction/kicksat/wiki/Radio-Info

KickSat Google Group https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/kicksat-gs

Mass Launch of 437 MHz Satellites https://amsat-uk.org/2014/03/03/mass-launch-of-437-mhz-satellites/

KickSat Sprite Ground Station by Andy Thomas G0SFJ
http://kicksat.wordpress.com/support/kicksat-ground-station/

British Interplanetary Society: Sprite Technical Summary
http://www.bis-space.com/2013/03/09/9301/kicksat-technical-summary

KickSat on KickStarter
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zacinaction/kicksat-your-personal-spacecraft-in-space/

KickSat Sprites set for launch March 30

KickSat Sprite satellites deployed - Image by Ben Bishop VK2FBRB

KickSat Sprite satellites deployed – Image by Ben Bishop VK2FBRB

Zac Manchester KD2BHC has released this update on KickSat which will carry 104 tiny Sprite satellites into a 325×315 km 51.5 degree inclination orbit. The launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 CRS 3 mission is planned for somewhere between March 30 and April 2.

KickSat 437 MHz Sprite Satellite

KickSat 437 MHz Sprite Satellite

The launch will be from Kennedy Space Center in Florida and you can watch it live on NASA TV, which will also be streaming online on Ustream.

Here’s a rough sequence of events:

  • Falcon 9 launch (0:00)
  • Falcon 9 upper stage separation (+0:03)
  • Dragon capsule separation (+0:10)
  • KickSat deployment from Falcon 9 upper stage (+0:16)
  • KickSat powers on and begins transmitting telemetry (+1:06)
  • Sprite deployment (+16 days and 16 minutes after launch)

The Sprites will be deployed by a timer exactly 16 days after KickSat is deployed from the launch vehicle. The timing was arranged with NASA to avoid interference with ISS operations.

Once KickSat turns on its radio, you should be able to pick it up with very basic Ham radio gear. It will be transmitting telemetry packets in AX.25 format on 437.505 MHz with 1200 baud AFSK modulation. I’ll post KickSat’s orbital elements here and on the project wiki, which will also have more information on setting up a receiving station. As always, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Thanks for your support!

Zac Manchester KD2BHC

This video by Ben Bishop VK2FBRB shows the Sprite deployment

Each Sprite has a microcontroller, radio, and solar cells and is capable of carrying single-chip sensors, such as thermometers, magnetometers, gyroscopes, and accelerometers.

CRS-3 Dragon spacecraft is mounted on the Falcon 9 rocket

CRS-3 Dragon spacecraft is mounted on the Falcon 9 rocket

All the Sprites satellites operate on a single frequency of 437.240 MHz and use Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). The 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 downlinks on 437.505 MHz and 2401-2436.2 MHz.

Mass Launch of 437 MHz Satellites https://amsat-uk.org/2014/03/03/mass-launch-of-437-mhz-satellites/

KickSat Sprite Ground Station by Andy Thomas G0SFJ
http://kicksat.wordpress.com/support/kicksat-ground-station/

British Interplanetary Society: Sprite Technical Summary
http://www.bis-space.com/2013/03/09/9301/kicksat-technical-summary

KickSat on KickStarter
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zacinaction/kicksat-your-personal-spacecraft-in-space/

Mass Launch of 437 MHz Satellites

KickSat deploying Sprite satellites - Image by Ben Bishop VK2FBRB

KickSat deploying Sprite satellites – Image by Ben Bishop VK2FBRB

The largest ever launch of 437 MHz satellites is planned for March 16 at 0841 UT when 104 Sprite satellites will fly on the SpaceX Falcon 9 CRS 3 mission to be deployed into a 325×315 km 51.5 degree inclination orbit. You should be able to watch the launch live on NASA TV.

The project was originally conceived by AMSAT-UK member Michael Johnson M0MJJ at Cornell University. Michael was the first project manager who specified many aspects of the project, making it technically and financially viable. He left the project in 2012 to found PocketSpacecraft.com.

KickSat 437 MHz Sprite Satellite

KickSat 437 MHz Sprite Satellite

A Sprite is a tiny, 3.5 by 3.5 cm, single-board spacecraft that was developed by Zac Manchester KD2BHC.

Each Sprite has a microcontroller, radio, and solar cells and is capable of carrying single-chip sensors, such as thermometers, magnetometers, gyroscopes, and accelerometers.

The 104 Sprites are carried in a 3U CubeSat called KickSat. They are stacked atop a spring-loaded pusher and secured by a nichrome burn wire system.

On reaching orbit KickSat will perform a de-tumble maneuver and establish communication with Cornell University’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 ground stations around the world.

Equipment for receiving the Sprite 437 MHz signals

Equipment for receiving the Sprite 437 MHz signals

Due to the low orbit Sprites will have a short lifetime before they reenter the atmosphere and burn up. In the best-case scenario the orbital lifetime could be six weeks but realistically it may be considerably shorter depending on atmospheric conditions, maybe a matter of days.

All the Sprites operate on a single frequency of 437.240 MHz and use Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). The 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 downlinks on 437.505 MHz and 2401-2436.2 MHz.

Watch KickSat Sprite Deployment by Ben Bishop VK2FBRB

In this video Ben Bishop VK2FBRB gives an alternative view of the deployment

KickSat Sprite Ground Station by Andy Thomas G0SFJ
http://kicksat.wordpress.com/support/kicksat-ground-station/

British Interplanetary Society: Sprite Technical Summary
http://www.bis-space.com/2013/03/09/9301/kicksat-technical-summary

KickSat Sprite satellites deployed - Image by Ben Bishop VK2FBRB

KickSat Sprite satellites deployed – Image by Ben Bishop VK2FBRB

KickSat project information http://zacinaction.github.io/kicksat/

KickSat on KickStarter
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zacinaction/kicksat-your-personal-spacecraft-in-space/

How the Sprite radio works
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zacinaction/kicksat-your-personal-spacecraft-in-space/posts/276220

More images by Ben Bishop VK2FBRB http://imgur.com/a/FYrpN#p5IOdWZ

BBC Worldwide TV interview with Zak Manchester KD2BHC. Unfortunately this is censored in the UK only overseas viewers can see it. A proxy server may be a way around it. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140128-the-smallest-spacecraft-in-orbit

Check this site for the latest CRS 3 launch date http://spaceflightnow.com/tracking/

437 MHz Sprite

437 MHz Sprite

Pocket Spacecraft http://www.pocketspacecraft.com/

UK radio ham’s Lunar CubeSat to go ahead
https://amsat-uk.org/2013/08/26/uk-radio-hams-lunar-cubesat-to-go-ahead/

BIS prepares for KickSat Sprite launch

Laurence de Bruxelle and Andy Thomas G0SFJ with KickSat ground station antennas

Laurence de Bruxelle and Andy Thomas G0SFJ with KickSat ground station antennas

British Interplanetary Society (BIS) members Laurence de Bruxelle and Andy Thomas G0SFJ have been working on three of the low cost ground stations for the eagerly awaited KickSat CubeSat which will deploy 200 Sprite satellites operating on 437 MHz.

The launch of KickSat on the SpaceX Falcon 9 CRS 3 mission is expected to take place from the Kennedy Space Center on Sunday, March 16 at 0841 UT.

Read the article BIS KickSat personal ground stations
http://www.bis-space.com/2014/02/16/12429/bis-kicksat-personal-ground-stations

Andrew Vaudin of the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) gave a presentation on the BIS Kicksat Sprite satellite to the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium on Sunday, July 21. You can watch the video of his presentation at http://www.batc.tv/streams/amsat1310

KickSat

KickSat

KickSat 437 MHz Sprite Satellite

KickSat 437 MHz Sprite Satellite

Download it direct to your PC at http://www.batc.tv/vod/kicksat.flv

Information about KickSat can be found at:
http://www.bis-space.com/category/bis-projects
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zacinaction/kicksat-your-personal-spacecraft-in-space

KickSat – Zac Manchester KD2BHC Interview
https://amsat-uk.org/2012/01/13/kicksat-zac-manchester-interview/

Find out about the BIS Kicksat Sprite Satellite

KickSat 437 MHz Sprite Satellite

KickSat 437 MHz Sprite Satellite

Andrew Vaudin of the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) will be giving a presentation on the BIS Kicksat Sprite satellite to the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium on Sunday, July 21.

The event takes place on Saturday/Sunday July 20-21 at the Holiday Inn, Guildford, GU2 7XZ, UK and is open to all.

KickSat Sprite satellites enable individuals to have their own satellite orbiting in space for very low cost, typically £200 ($300). Andrew Vaudin’s presentation should start at 9:50 AM on Sunday and is understood to include a demonstration.

Thanks to volunteers from the British Amateur Television Club (BATC) this presentation and the 17 others will be streamed live to the internet to a global audience. See https://amsat-uk.org/2013/07/18/webcast-of-international-space-colloquium/

Information about KickSat can be found at:
http://www.bis-space.com/category/bis-projects
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zacinaction/kicksat-your-personal-spacecraft-in-space

16 year-old UK student to work on KickSat Sprite
https://amsat-uk.org/2013/04/23/uk-student-to-work-on-kicksat/

The KickSat Sprites from both the BIS and London Hackspace are planned to launch on the SpaceX Falcon 9 ELaNa 5 / CRS 3 mission early in 2014.

A sample issue of the AMSAT-UK newsletter OSCAR News can be downloaded here.