Monday, May 12, 2014

Good News, Bad News, on KickSat Launch

The AMSAT News Service reports that five CubeSats were successfully launched in mid-April aboard a SpaceX rocket. Among them is KickSat, which carried 104 tiny "Sprite" satellites - each the size of a cracker - and was supposed to deploy them once it achieved orbit. They would be the smallest satellites ever place in orbit. 
However, a May 5 posting on the ARRL website reports that, due to a technical glitch, it may not be possible for the sprites to be deployed before KickSat re-enters the Earth's atmosphere. Their deployment was to be based on a certain elapsed time from launch, but controllers reported that KickSat's master clock reset after reaching orbit, delaying the automatic deployment. In addition, low battery voltage is keeping controllers from overriding the pre-programmed settings. Check back here for updates.