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Picosat 5



Tethered Picosats, Picosat 5, Picosat 6, Picosat 7, and Picosat 8 are hectogram mass satellites that were ejected from OPAL (2000-004C). They were built mostly by engineering students at Santa Clara University in California, from off-the-shelf components and miniature batteries, for technology tests. According to our information from the investigator teams, the Tethered Picosats, consisting of a pair of Picosats tethered together by a short wire, was ejected on 8 February, Picosats 7 and 8 on 11 February, and Picosats 5 and 6 on 12 February. They have also common names given by the investigators: Picosats 7 and 8 are the Thelma and Louise pair and Picosats 5 and 6 are the JAK and Stensat pair; but not necessarily in that order. The Tethered Picosats appear to have been functional for a short while after ejection, communicating with each other by microwatt radio transmitters. On the other hand, there has been no indication whether any of the the Picosats (5, 6, 7,and 8) were operational at least soon after ejection. It appears that USSPACECOM's Picosat numbers extending to eight is erroneous. There were only six Picosats on board the OPAL, with perhaps one or two at the ground level intended to communicate with the orbiters. The tests were sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA).

Alternate Names

  • 26091
  • Picosat5
  • Thelma

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2000-03-03
Launch Vehicle: Minuteman-2
Launch Site: Vandenberg AFB, United States


  • Engineering

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

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