KickSat Kicks the Bucket

No Kicksat

According to update #73 on the KickSat Kickstarter page, KickSat is no more.  The nanosatellite had experienced a single event upset (SEU) and the Watchdog Timer reset (those terms are explained in this article, here).  The result of those two events was a reset of a crucial timer that was supposed to release the smaller “sprite” satellites into orbit.

Because of that reset timer, the “carrier” satellite, KickSat, re-entered and burned up in the atmosphere on 13 May before any of the 104 sprite satellites were released.  But the good news is it might have been the least expensive satellite failure in history.  KickSat’s Kickstarter campaign raised nearly $75,000 to launch KickSat and deploy the sprite satellites.  The amount was more than double KickSat’s KickStarter goal of $30,000.

Instead of giving up, the founder of KickSat, Zachary Manchester, has indicated there will be a KickSat 2.  When that will be constructed and launched is to be seen.  But at least he’s learning both about robust spacecraft design and space operations, and at a less expensive rate than some of the bigger satellite builders.  It will be interesting to see the changes and optimizations he’s made to KickSat 2.

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