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Microchip Engineers Built Amateur Satellite That Deploys From International Space Station Tomorrow Morning

Microchip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller, analog and Flash-IP solutions, today announced that a volunteer team of Microchip engineers spent nearly four years working on nights and weekends to develop the ARISSat-1 amateur satellite.  Their hard work will come to fruition tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. (Pacific Time), when the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled to deploy the satellite during a spacewalk.


Commander of Expedition 27 crew Dmitry Kondratyev with ARISSat-1 on board the International Space Station (photo courtesy of NASA).  High-res Photo Available Through Flickr or Editorial Contact (feel free to publish):  http://www.microchip.com/get/A5JM

The deployment will be broadcast live on NASA TV and online at http://www.microchip.com/get/6J8J.  Additionally, ARISSat-1 design-team leader Steve Bible launched the limited-series Chips in Space Blog on EE Times’ Web site last week, to both educate and entertain readers by relating the story of how he and his colleagues came to build the satellite, and the challenges they ran into along the way.  Bible will also provide analysis of the satellite’s deployment and functionality.

ARISSat-1 is the prototype test flight for a proposed series of educational satellites being developed in a partnership with the Radio Amateur Satellite Corp. (AMSAT), the NASA Office of Education ISS National Lab Project, the Amateur Radio on ISS (ARISS) working group and RSC-Energia.  If all goes well with tomorrow’s deployment, it will perform the following primary functions:

·        Two-way communication via UHF uplink and VHF downlink, for use by ham radio operators

·        Visuals of space from four cameras

·        Recharging of the satellite’s battery using solar panels, enabling operation for months

·        Transmission of audio greetings in many languages, for reception via simple radios or scanners

·        Telemetry transmissions with updates on the health of the satellite

·        House an experiment from Russia’s Kursk University that measures atmospheric pressure


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