Icarus Kick-Sat in Space

posted by Pat Galea on April 23, 2014

Back in 2011, Icarus Interstellar backed a Kickstarter program run by Zac Manchester to launch a number of tiny ‘sprite’ satellites into Earth orbit. Each sprite has a small bit of electronics, a battery, and an antenna. It broadcasts a flight code selected by the backer.
The sprites are contained within a cubesat, which was launched into low Earth orbit on 19 April 2014. The sprites will be deployed from the cubesat 16 days after launch, at 20:00 UTC on 04 May 2014. They will broadcast their individual flight codes, and then burn up in the atmosphere after a few days.
If you want to see whether you can pick up the sprites, you just need a Yagi antenna, a cheap software defined radio (such as a FunCube dongle), and a PC. Instructions are on the wiki: https://github.com/zacinaction/kicksat/wiki .


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4 Responses to Icarus Kick-Sat in Space

  1. joel weeks says:

    Laying groundwork from aa preplanning standpoint this entire project has to be removed from the conventional globalized economy of mankind. If this preemptive step is not taken – we will always encounter the difficultu of ” where is the money for this or that going to come from…” What must be done is to first identify the natural resources, then the manufactured and refined resources i.e technology derived from those natural resources which will be required for the construction of each component of our conjectural vessel. Next We must identify those individuals and organizations which possess the items. finally. we must cast a wide net to pull in all of those whom are will to contribute these things free of cost, while being willing to accept the same social status in our program with thos whom provide non-material assets…the array of leaders, scientists and workers whom will contribute to our ships. Then also we must have a defined mission a large part of which is exploration and investigation – yet also perhaps finding a practical way to finde adaptable energy source within our solar system, on other planets. Also true efforts to establish viable communities on other planets. This is just the beginning of a broad outline, yet it gives the human spirit something to strive for other to go around in revolutions chasing after moneys and properties….this could be the beginning of a happy new economy where everybody shares and shares alike toward a fantastic technological dream…

  2. I remember my dad spending many evenings on his ham radio rig, talking to the world using Oscar 7, one of the many amateur satellites sent up over the years.
    He is no longer active on radio, and sometimes talks about how internet killed his hobby. It’s nice to see that there is still activity on this front, and I’ll be showing him this article, to reassure him the amateur spirit is still alive in 2014.

  3. John Pattullo says:

    does this achieve any useful science as it seems like its just throwing some radio transmitters out into space for the fun of it from the kickstarter info

    • My understanding is that you can look at this as an early precursor of satellite swarms. The next step would be to have some of these self assemble in space, or, alternatively, create highly redundant and robust satellites made from a multitude of separate sub assemblies. The ant colony model versus the individual organism model.
      I believe there is also an aspect of a purely engineering challenge, as it’s interesting to do all the work required to contact ‘your’ satellite. So certainly a self/public education aspect as well.
      So; light on cutting edge science, heavy on education, and full of a high level of geaky fun.

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