According to foreign media reports, if you think that SpaceX has already impressed you with 60 Starlink satellites at the same time, then you may be wrong, because Cornell University holds 105 small satellites. It is reported that on March 18 this year, these micro-satellites named Sprite were deployed from the Kicksat-2 CubeSat at an altitude of 300 kilometers and formed a color-sized cannon-sized satellite group.
The Sprite project at Cornell University was developed in 2011 by Mason Peck, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, former students Zachary Manchester and Justin Atchison, to prove that it is possible to make the smallest free-flying satellite. It is understood that each ChipSat costs less than $100, weighs only 4 grams, and is 1.4 inches (3.5 square centimeters) square. It is essentially a circuit board with a short-range telemetry transmitter and several sensors.
According to Cornell University, the powerful satellite constellation of 105 small satellites was launched by the KickSat-2 satellite. The KickSat-2 satellite is a cube satellite funded by Kickstarter and designed by Manchester and NASA Ames, which was put into orbit after the Cygnus NG-10 left the ISS. After the deployment is complete, the Sprite is healthy when transmitting milliwatts of telemetry signals in the 400 MHz range.
Since many of the transmissions are customized by Kickstarter crowdfunding sponsors, some of them can even track ChipSat at home with very cheap equipment.
Because Sprites are very small in size but have a very large surface-to-volume ratio, they capture the almost absent upper atmosphere like a small parachute, causing their orbits to circulate a few days before they burn into the Earth's atmosphere. Decay inside. According to Cornell University, this feature allows the satellites to handle themselves, so they do not pose a threat to space debris.
Peck said: "The goal of Sprite on KickSat-2 is to demonstrate basic capabilities, one of which is to not interfere with the communication of other satellites. A few years later, we look forward to changing the scientific and commercial applications of the rules of the game. The next generation (Sprite) will have GPS navigation capabilities and can measure atmospheric behavior, magnetic fields, and more. ”