KickSat Project

The Big Picture

The goal of KickSat is to dramatically lower the cost of spaceflight, making it easy enough and affordable enough for anyone to explore space. We can do this by shrinking the size and mass of the spacecraft, allowing many to be launched together. KickSat also serves as a technology testbed for networking and swarming algorithms for small spacecraft.

The Sprite Spacecraft


The Sprite is a tiny (3.5 by 3.5 centimeter) spacecraft made on a printed circuit board. It has a microcontroller, radio, and solar cells and is capable of carrying chip-scale sensors like magnetometers, gyroscopes, and radiation sensors. To lower costs, Sprites are designed to be deployed hundreds at a time in low Earth orbit and to simultaneously communicate with a ground station receiver.

The KickSat Mission

KickSat is a 3U CubeSat that will deploy 100 Sprites in low-Earth Orbit. It is set to launch in early 2019 in collaboration with NASA Ames Research Center.

Related Papers

PDF PyCubed: An Open-Source, Radiation-Tested CubeSat Platform Programmable Entirely in Python
Max Holliday, Andrea Ramirez, Connor Settle, Tane Tatum, Debbie Senesky, and Zac Manchester
AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites (SmallSat). Logan, Utah.
PDF KickSat: A Crowd-Funded Mission to Demonstrate the World's Smallest Spacecraft
Zac Manchester, Mason Peck, and Andrew Filo
AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites Logan, Utah.


Zac Manchester
Assistant Professor
Last updated: 2018-08-06