The SpaceX CRS-3 mission, previously delayed to November 11, is now scheduled for launch on December 9. Using a free launch means that the launch date is dependent on NASA and the needs of the ISS. As a result, there will be more time to test hardware and software before KIckSat and its Sprites reach orbit.
In the mean time, the Cornell team has begun machining structural parts for the cubesat that will be part of the final unit to be sent into space. Additionally, GNURadio install scripts for various flavors of Linux have been released on the KickSat GitHub. A wiki describes the install process for those interested in building a local ground station.
After spending nearly a month in space, the Dragon capsule from SpaceX landed in the Pacific ocean on Tuesday, March 26. This splashdown marked the end of SpaceX’s second commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station. These resupply missions support the work and well being of the ISS crew since the end of the NASA Space Shuttle program in 2011. For this reason, moments were particularly tense when it appeared that the Dragon capsule might not be able to reach the station after achieving orbit.
The CRS-2 Falcon 9 rocket undergoes a static fire in preparation for launch
As explained previously, KickSat and its payload of Sprites launches on the SpaceX CRS-3/ELaNa-5 mission no earlier than 2 October 2013. The final launch date depends on several factors, one in particular being the success of the SpaceX CRS-2 mission. The CRS-1 mission, summarized in an earlier post, started shaky but ended strong – an overall success.
Barring setbacks, CRS-2 launches tomorrow, March 1. A SpaceX Dragon capsule will be carried into orbit by one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets. The Dragon capsule is expected to reach the International Space Station the next day. Read on for NASA’s official mission overview and links to live internet streams of the launch.
After more than a year of waiting, my Sprite spacecraft development kit for KickSat has finally arrived. Below, I’ve included a gallery tour of the kit. Click on one of the pictures to enter presentation mode!
My souvenir board has arrived! Delivered in an envelope a couple of days ago, the board was accompanied by a letter from project lead Zac Manchester:
The sensor payload as found upon recovery
October was a busy month for commercial spaceflight! Not only did SpaceX complete its first commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station, but Nanosatisfi completed its first successful high-altitude test of the ArduSat payload. Since the first high-altitude test didn’t get off the ground, this mission was a big moment for the Nanosatisfi team.
Sprites are tiny; there’s a reason they are called chip satellites. They are powered by a pair of TASC (triangular advanced solar cells) that are less than 5 centimeters square in surface area, and their antennas are even smaller. Is it even possible for one of these devices to send a signal 500 km back to Earth?