200 microsats...

From: <wkitty42_at_gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 14:11:29 -0500
i know these are not likely to be visible other than maybe some detected flashes 
at times but i thought i'd share this article from today's ARRL Newsline 
newsletter...

===== snip =====
The largest ever launch of micro-satellites operating in the 437 MHz band is
planned for March 16th. That's when some 200 tiny Sprite satellites on the
SpaceX Falcon 9 CRS 3 mission.


A Sprite is a tiny, 3.5 by 3.5 cm, single-board spacecraft that was
developed by Zac Manchester, KD2BHC. It has a micro-controller, radio, and
solar cells and is capable of carrying single-chip sensors. These might
include thermometers, magnetometers, gyroscopes, accelerometers and the like.

The 200 Sprites will be carried in a CubeSat called KickSat. They are stacked
atop a spring-loaded pusher and secured by a nichrome burn wire system. On
reaching orbit KickSat will perform a de-tumble maneuver and establish
communication with Cornell University's ground station. After check-out, the
spacecraft will be put in a sun-pointing attitude and spun up to maintain
that attitude. Then a command signal from the ground station will then
trigger the deployment and the Sprites will be released as free-flying
spacecraft. These micro birds will be placed into a 325 by 315 kilometer 51.5
degree inclination orbit. 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 ground stations around the
world.

All of the 200 Sprites operate on a single frequency of 437.240 MHz and use
Code Division Multiple Access. The transmitter runs only 10 milliwatts
transmitting Minimum Shift Keying modulated with binary data. Each data bit
is modulated as a 511 bit Pseudo-Random Number sequence.

Due to the low orbit Sprites will have a short lifetime before they re-enter
the atmosphere and burn up. In the best-case scenario the orbital lifetime
could be six weeks but realistically it may be considerably shorter depending
on atmospheric conditions. And while likely short lived these 200 sprites
will be making the space adventure of a lifetime for many experimenters come
true.
===== snip =====

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Received on Fri Mar 07 2014 - 19:11:50 UTC

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