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KickSat Project Announces Telemetry Download Competition


[Update: 2014-04-15 1905 UTC] The Spacex ISS resupply mission launch has been postponed due to a problem with the vehicle. Another attempt has been scheduled for April 18.]

Zac Manchester, KD2BHC, of the KickSat project is offering prizes to the first stations to copy telemetry from KickSat and from the “Sprite” satellites.

“I’ll be offering prizes to the first several people who receive telemetry packets from KickSat as well as the first few who receive signals from the Sprites,” Manchester has announced. “The prizes will include souvenir Sprites, and CRS-3 and ELaNa-V mission patches.”

KickSat is due to launch from Cape Canaveral today (April 14) at 2058 UTC with the third SpaceX ISS resupply mission. If all goes according to plan, on April 30 the 3U KickSat CubeSat will release more than 100 Sprite satellites — each about the size of a small cracker — into orbit. They will become the smallest Earth-orbiting satellites ever. Manchester — a Cornell University PhD student in aerospace engineering — said the Sprites will deploy on April 30 at 2202 UTC.

NASA-TV is broadcasting the launch live. It’s also available online, and Manchester is scheduled to be interviewed.

For KickSat telemetry (437.505 MHz and 2401-2436.2 MHz), Manchester wants the raw hex or ASCII packet data, “and I have to be able to successfully decode it.” For the Sprites, he wants a raw baseband recording, “and I have to be able to decode at least one Sprite signal from it.” All of the Sprites are on the same frequency — 437.240 MHz.

Manchester said he is the final judge on winners, and he’ll continue to offer prizes, “until I run out of cool swag.”

To get in on the fun, visit the KickSat Wiki and sign up for the KickSat mailing list. AMSAT-UK also has posted a report.





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