Zac Manchester Engineer, Rocket Scientist, Spacecraft Hacker

Tiny Satellites in Space!

On June 23 the PSLV-C38 launch carried 31 satellites into low-Earth orbit. Among them were Max Valier and Venta-1, built by OHB of Germany, which were carrying six of my tiny Sprite spacecraft as secondary payloads. One each is attached to the outside of Max Valier and Venta-1, and four more are currently housed inside Max Valier waiting to be deployed as free-flying spacecraft at some point in the future. We can now confirm that at least one of the Sprites (probably the one mounted to Venta-1) is transmitting and has been successfully decoded by several ground stations around the world.

This is the first time we’ve successfully demonstrated a Sprite on orbit and, as far as I know, they are the smallest spacecraft ever flown by at least one order of magnitude. I’d like to extend a huge thanks to the Breakthrough Foundation and OHB for making this ride share happen and for helping to advance the state of the art in small spacecraft. Check out the Sprite mounted on Max Valier before launch:

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