San Diego Space Society provides numerous opportunities for members, students and the public to gain real hands-on experience building real space-related projects at the Space Travelers Emporium.
SD Space’s first space build project is to participate in the KickSat project by buying a development kit so we can program our own Sprite spacecraft that will fly in space.
KickSat is a CubeSat – a standardized small satellite that can easily be launched. It is designed to carry hundreds or even thousands of Sprites into space and deploy them in low Earth orbit. The Sprites will be housed inside KickSat in several spring-loaded stacks and held in place by a lid. A radio signal transmitted from the ground station will command the lid to open, releasing the Sprites as free-flying spacecraft.
Sprites are the size of a couple of postage stamps but have solar cells, a radio transceiver, and a microcontroller (tiny computer) with memory and sensors – many of the capabilities a bigger spacecraft would have, just scaled down. This first version won’t do much more than transmit its name and a few bits of data – almost like a mini Sputnik. Future versions could include any type of sensor that will fit, from thermometers to cameras.
A more advanced project will be to develop our own suborbital payload and fly it repeatedly to and from the edge of space. One team will focus on payload development and another on launch provider selection and interface. The goal to to fly at least twice before the end of 2012.
Go to the PoGo project page for current status, photos and work to be done.
More projects are being developed. If you are interested in participating in any of these great projects, or leading your own, please join SD Space by going online or stop by the Space Travelers Emporium and ask how you can become a member and become involved in the various space-related projects.