Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Feb.25.2019

A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. related to student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs:

** LunaH-Map Spacecraft – A CubeSat project at Arizona State University:

The Lunar Polar Hydrogen Mapper (LunaH-Map) is a 6U CubeSat mission recently selected by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate to fly as a secondary payload on first Exploration Mission (EM-1) of the Space Launch System (SLS), scheduled to launch in July 2018. LunaH-Map is led by a small team of researchers and students at Arizona State University, in collaboration with NASA centers, JPL, universities, and commercial space businesses. The LunaH-Map mission will reveal hydrogen abundances at spatial scales below 10 km in order to understand the relationship between hydrogen and permanently shadowed regions, particularly craters, at the Moon’s South Pole. 

** KickSat-2 Update – Latest on the recently deployed CubeSat KickSat-2, which started as a Cornell student project funded with a Kickstarter, that release over a hundred “ChipSats” when it reaches a very low earth orbit (assuming it gets permission from the FCC to do so): KickSat-2 is Alive and Being Tracked –

KickSat-2 is scheduled to deploy up to 104 tiny Sprite satellites into low Earth orbit. The Sprites then would transmit on 437.240 MHz at 10 mW, communicating with each other via a mesh network and with command stations on Earth. The Sprites, which are less than 2 square inches, are expected to reenter Earth’s atmosphere within weeks. Manchester did not indicate if attempts would be made to deploy the Sprites.

NASA calls KickSat-2 a technology demonstration mission that’s designed to demonstrate the deployment and operation of prototype Sprite “ChipSats,” also known as “femtosatellites.”

The FCC recently imposed a $900,000 penalty on a commercial concern, Swarm Technologies, for launching similar tiny satellites after the FCC had denied permission.

“These spacecraft are therefore below the size threshold at which detection by the Space Surveillance Network can be considered routine,” the FCC told Swarm Technologies.

Manchester had been trying without success to convince the FCC to allow him to deploy the Sprites from KickSat-2, but, apparently gun shy after the Swarm action, the agency denied permission at the last moment.

Once NASA adopted KickSat-2 as its own mission, however, the regulatory body shifted to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the launch went forward.

Zachary Manchester, who started the project while a post-doc at Cornell, is now an assistant professor at the Stanford School of Engineering. Here is the REx Lab: KickSat Project page at Stanford.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-055 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • 50th Anniversary AMSAT OSCAR Satellite Communications Achievement Award (Limited Edition) Starts March 3rd
  • FalconSAT-3 Digipeater Waiting for Your APRS Packets
  • Qatar OSCAR-100 Web Receiver Now Live
  • AMSAT Journal January/February 2019 Is on Its Way
  • KickSat-2 is Alive and Being Tracked (Updated 2/19/2019)
  • Ladybird Guide to Spacecraft Communications Training Course
  • IARU Region 1 Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) Announced
  • This Month in AMSAT History
  • AMSAT-SA Space Symposium March 16, 2019
  • HamSCI Workshop Receives National Science Foundation Grant
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • ARISS News
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:


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