437 MHz Sprite satellites deployed
Scientific American magazine interviews radio amateur Zac Manchester KD2BHC in the article Breakthrough Sends Smallest-Ever Satellites into Orbit.
On June 23, 2017 six tiny satellites were sent into low-Earth orbit as secondary payloads on the Venta and Max Valier satelites that were launched on the Indian PSLV-C38 rocket. These six satellites are comparatively dainty, but punch far above their weight. Called “Sprites,” each is a 4-gram flake of circuit-board just 3.5 centimeters on a side, packing solar panels, computers, sensors and communications equipment into an area equal to a U.S. postage stamp.
One Sprite apiece is attached to the outside of each mothership — the Latvian Venta satellite and the Italian Max Valier satellite, the latter of which also holds four additional Sprites awaiting deployment into space as wholly independent spacecraft. Radio telemetry from minuscule magnetometers and gyroscopes on the deployed Sprites would then be used to track the spacecraft as they shift, spin and tumble, to better understand their orbital dynamics.
Signals on 437.325 MHz from at least one of the exterior-mounted Sprites have been received in California and New York.
Read the Scientific American article at
Zac Manchester KD2BHC had 104 Sprite satellites launched into orbit on board KickSat-1 on April 18, 2014 but the Sprites failed to deploy
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