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KickSat

NSSDCA/COSPAR ID: 2014-022F

Description

KickSat is an amateur radio CubeSat technology demonstration mission designed to demonstrate the deployment and operation of prototype Sprite “ChipSats” (femtosatellites) developed at Cornell University by Zac Manchester.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. A significant portion of the KickSat mission has been financed by over 300 individual sponsors through the crowd-source funding website Kickstarter.

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.

KickSat is a 3U CubeSat being built to carry and deploy up to 128 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. 128 Sprites can be stacked atop a spring-loaded pusher and secured by a nichrome burn wire system. Fort the flight, only 104 Sprites will be on board. A timer releases the Sprites 16 days after launch.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 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. Their worst-case maximum orbital lifetime is estimated at 6 weeks.

Alternate Names

  • 39685

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2014-04-18
Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States
Mass: 5.5 kg

Funding Agency

  • Unknown (United States)

Discipline

  • Technology Applications

Additional Information

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

 
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