Frequently Asked Questions
- A Sprite development board with programming headers
- A USB programmer
- Online documentation
- Example code
- Online support and feedback
- Code review and testing for flight
- And finally, your code running on a Sprite in space!
We'll give you a few examples to get you started, but programming will require a working knowledge of C and ideally some previous experience working with microcontrollers.Last updated:
The microcontroller on the Sprite is an MSP430 from Texas Instruments. The exact part is the CC430F5137 and its documentation is available here: http://www.ti.com/product/cc430f5137.Last updated:
While we won't know the exact orbit until we've secured a launch, we're aiming for an inclined circular low Earth orbit around 300 km altitude. That would mean a roughly 90 minute orbit with several daylight passes per day (at least 2 or 3) over most locations on Earth. Each pass would be several minutes long, allowing plenty of time for reception of radio transmissions by ground stations.Last updated:
I'll contact you at the end of our Kickstarter fundraising period to ask for this information, as well as your shipping address for mailing your souvenir Sprite or development kit.Last updated:
This project will release all hardware schematics, PCB designs, and source code for free download (where export restrictions permit). This will ensure that the community can continue to use, modify, and improve the designs in the future.
Code will be under a BSD-style license (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSD_licenses).
Hardware designs will be under a Creative Commons Attribution Unported 3.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).Last updated:
All information and software needed to receive signals from the Sprites will be made freely available. Anyone with the necessary hardware who wants to is encouraged to listen in!
The signals will be in the 70 cm band (around 437 MHz) at about 10 dBm EIRP. All Sprites will be on the same frequency and will use orthogonal PRN spreading codes for both unique identification and signal processing gain.
To receive the signals, you'll need a yagi antenna, a rotator, an LNA, and a software defined radio (SDR) interface for your computer. We've been using the USRP from Ettus Research, but it's pretty expensive, so we're trying to make everything work with the (much cheaper) FUNCube dongle (http://www.funcubedongle.com/) as well.
Frequency coordination with the IARU can't be done until we have KickSat slotted for a specific launch, so we won't know the exact frequency until then.Last updated:
The answer to this question depends on what kind of orbit we get launched into. We're shooting for a low-altitude orbit where the Sprites would have a few days in space before reentering the atmosphere and burning up. We want to guarantee that the Sprites will stay in orbit for no more than a couple of weeks to eliminate debris concerns.Last updated:
Debris is a huge concern to everyone in the space community. We certainly want to be responsible space citizens in making sure that we don’t create more of it and will comply with the international rules and guidelines for debris mitigation.
While exact prediction of orbit lifetimes is difficult, the absolute worst-case lifetime for our mission would occur in the event of a deployment failure, in which KickSat is stuck in its launch configuration with all the ChipSats still inside. In that case, KickSat would lose orbital velocity due to atmospheric drag and burn up within a few months of being launched into low Earth orbit.
If the Sprites are successfully deployed, their individual orbital lifetimes will be significantly shorter than KickSat's. This is because their ballistic coefficients are much lower, so atmospheric drag has a greater affect on their orbits.Last updated:
Yes. I do need to understand what your code does and make sure that it complies with regulations and fits within technical constraints. I will try to work with developers to resolve issues before launch, however, I reserve the right not to fly code for any reason.Last updated:
Do I need to pay for my own travel arrangements if I donate enough for the VIP tour or press The Big Red Button rewards?
Yes. You will have to get yourself to Ithaca, NY at your own expense, but you will then be taken care of on the day of the deployment and one night of accommodation can be provided if needed.Last updated:
Initials/messages are limited to 5 characters.Last updated:
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