Captain’s Log, Stardate 12582.9

As of the last project update, the Sprite boards were still in development and the ship date of the development kits had slipped. The development kit is still a ways off from arriving at my doorstep, but there have been some exciting developments in the interim.

The prototypes have now been functioning for close to three weeks. The schematics for these boards are posted at the KickSat GitHub repository, and they will serve as the blueprints for the dev boards that will be manufactured and sent out to backers like me. You can see a video of a fully functional souvenir board below:

Interestingly, these boards can be programmed with more than just the TI Launchpad software. Zac, the driving force behind the KickSat project at Cornell, has started his own branch of Energia for Sprite development.

Energia is like Arduino, except made for the TI Launchpad platform. Based on Arduino and Wiring, the project uses the Processing IDE to make programming the MSP430 as easy as programming an AVR chip. As a result, classic Arduino starter programs like “Blink” can be run seamlessly on the TI microcontroller (in fact, the code blinking the LEDs in the video above is the Arduino Blink program). And because Processing is cross platform, Energia could prove to be the least painful way to develop for an MSP430 on Linux or Mac.

In short, it’s been a great month for Arduinos and space! In my previous post, I highlighted the ArduSat and its promise to make satellite programming simple and accessible. If all goes well, coding for the Sprite boards will be equally user friendly; it may even be possible to write code that works on both devices. Keep an eye out for a more in-depth look at Energia and what it means for Sprite development soon!

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