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Would you like to have your own spacecraft?  Kickstart the personal space age by helping launch tiny spacecraft into low Earth orbit.
Would you like to have your own spacecraft? Kickstart the personal space age by helping launch tiny spacecraft into low Earth orbit.
315 backers pledged $74,586 to help bring this project to life.

Launch Update and Ground Station Info

Posted by Zachary Manchester (Creator)

Hi Everyone,

KickSat is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida on  March 16, 2014 at 4:41 AM. To check the latest date, look for "SpaceX CRS 3" on SpaceFlight Now. I believe the launch will be televised on NASA TV, which you can see both on cable/satellite TV in the U.S. and online. If any of you KickSat backers will be in Florida for the launch, drop me a line!

For those interested in listening to the Sprites, here is what you need:

All of this gear (besides the computer) can be purchased for less than $200. If anyone is interested in setting up a receiver and needs help, don't hesitate to contact me. I'll be posting more detailed instructions on in the next few days. I'm also setting up a website for people to upload signal recordings to be decoded, cataloged, and plotted on a map, so that everyone can keep track of the Sprites.

Thank again to all of our backers!

- Zac


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    1. Zachary Manchester Creator on

      Hi Andrew,
      The orbit will have a 51.5° inclination like the ISS. There are preliminary TLEs here:
      I'll post the gold codes tonight. It will be 16 days between launch and Sprite deployment.
      - Zac

    2. AndrewV-BIS on

      And another also...
      How long do you think it will be between cubesat deployment and Sprite release? Did you set this on a timer in the end, or stick with the launch button option?

    3. AndrewV-BIS on

      Also, do you know what the inclination will be for the cubesat; circa 52° (ISS) or circa 40°N?

    4. AndrewV-BIS on

      Will you be releasing the gold code allocations soon? Also, where do we upload our recordings? We have at least 6 groundstations - 5 simple handhelds and one that is quite impressive :-)

    5. Ben Bishop on

      Aw shucks :) Thanks for an awesome project and opportunity for us to go to space!

    6. Zachary Manchester Creator on

      Hi Ben,
      You're exactly right. We had to leave some spaces in the deployer to keep it from jamming. Thanks for your awesome pictures and videos!
      - Zac

    7. Ben Bishop on

      Hi Zac, how many Sprites are being released? It looks like there are 104 (4 stacks of 26) Sprites loaded in the pics.

      I've also put some more KickSat renderings up if anyone wants to illustrate their blog posts and news articles:…

    8. Michael Styne on


      Ground station K2MTS will be at your service from sunny(?) Averill Park, NY!

      Good luck!

    9. Zachary Manchester Creator on

      Hi Wes,
      You are very welcome to run the decoder yourself in GNURadio. I'm providing the website so that if you don't want to mess with GNURadio, you don't have to. I would ask that even if you do use GNURadio, you make recordings as well and still submit them to the website for the benefit of our team and others. We can discuss the time stamping - send me an email.
      - Zac

    10. Wesley Faler on

      Thanks for the list Zac. Very useful! To be clear: our personal ground stations should create audio recordings and we should not compile the decoder in GNURadio? Will the decoded data from the website have a date/time stamp on each byte? I'm hoping to use the byte timing to disambiguate packet start/stop, so at least a relative seconds from beginning of the recording would be useful for each byte.

    11. Zachary Manchester Creator on

      Hey Rick,
      Ideally, a recoding of a ChipSat so that I can make sure it works with the decoder. I can send you the code to run on your dev kit.
      - Zac

    12. Chris Norris on

      Handy as I am an Amateur Radio operator so have this stuff laying around!
      Cannot wait for the launch now - soooo close after all this time.


      Sprint name: 'CNCMK '

    13. Rick Mann on

      Thanks, Zac. I have one, what would you like me to record?

    14. Zachary Manchester Creator on

      Hi Rick,
      Yes, it is possible to use any of the FunCube Dongles. Unfortunately I don't have one to play with my self, but if someone can send me some sample recordings I can make sure they work with the website.
      - Zac

    15. Zachary Manchester Creator on

      Thanks Andrew! That's a great list.

    16. Rick Mann on

      Awesome news, Zac! Tell me, can I use the FunCube Dongle Pro (not the new Pro+)?…

    17. AndrewV-BIS on

      Good stuff Zac. Arrow antennas take a while to arrive in the UK so I posted a list of equipment more readily available in Europe:

      Regards, Andrew.