Space Systems Laboratory


SOCEM (Sub-Orbital CubeSat Experimental Mission) was a successful endeavor by Kentucky Space, in coordination with the NASA SRPO (Sounding Rocket Program Office) at NASA Wallops and California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), to demonstrate a new platform for high-risk, sub-orbital, fast access to space for small payloads. The platform involves the fusion of two previously independent space platforms for fast access to space, the CubeSat, and a 17″ – diameter Sounding Rocket Form Factor.

At 10:09:56 ET on 27 March 2010, SOCEM was launched aboard NASA’s Hall 12.067, the maiden flight of NASA’s Terrier-Improved Malemute. Roughly 75 seconds after the first stage ignition, SOCEM deployed two non-recoverable student-built CubeSat payloads into space. Both payloads performed engineering experiments, transmitting data back to Earth via radio signal.

Mission Objectives:

SSL’s primary payload was a 2U CubeSat platform used to test hardware components that would later fly on KySat-1. This hardware test platform was named ADAMASat, more information can be found by following the link.

Also on-board:

  • Cal Poly 1U CubeSat test platform
  • PCL (Poly CubeSat Launcher) – developed by Cal Poly to deploy the payloads into space
  • Pedestal – designed by Kentucky Space students at SSL to move the center of gravity of the entire SOCEM system to the spin axis of the rocket
  • Beanie – designed by Kentucky Space students at SSL, an aluminum structure to interface between the payloads, and the rocket’s blow-off door

Mission Completion:

ADAMASat’s downlink was a standard 1200-baud APRS packet stream on the North American APRS frequency, 144.390 MHz, and using simplex direct with no digipeating. The packets were sent under the call sign, KJ4HVJ. Amateur radio operators in the Eastern United States with the necessary VHF equipment (a radio and a TNC) were encouraged to participate in the mission by collecting the packets and e-mailing them to Kentucky Space to aid in post-processing and analysis of the links to the payload from various locations.

In order to assist HAMs in the process, Kentucky Space also developed and released, free of charge, the ADAMASat FREE GUI, a standalone Windows-based graphical serial terminal for parsing ADAMASat packets in real time. The GUI also provided a built-in Twitter aggregator to keep the HAM up-to-date on the mission, and included a button to aid in the process of sharing the received data with the Kentucky Space team after the mission.

Both payloads successfully exited the rocket and transmitted data packets to ground stations. In total, 19 ADAMASat packets were received and decoded, thanks in large part to the HAM community which supported the mission. Many thanks to HAMs Charlie Cantrill (KI4RDT) and Dave Webb (KB1PVH) who contributed to this list.

  • {KY/091/0004482a/ff,72bd/+127,Y/0626/7523,Y/059e/7519,Y/059e/7512,Y/0468/7507
  • {KY/092/000453e2/ff,72b5/+127,Y/0626/7523,Y/059e/7519,Y/059e/7512,Y/0468/7507
  • {KY/093/00045f9a/ff,72aa/+127,Y/0626/7523,Y/059e/7519,Y/059e/7512,Y/0468/7507
  • {KY/095/0004770a/ff,729a/+127,Y/0626/7523,Y/059e/7519,Y/059e/7512,Y/0468/7507
  • {KY/096/000482c2/ff,7290/+127,Y/0626/7523,Y/059e/7519,Y/059e/7512,Y/0468/7507
  • {KY/097/00048e7a/ff,7288/+128,Y/0626/7523,Y/059e/7519,Y/059e/7512,Y/0468/7507
  • {KY/099/0004a5ea/ff,7278/+128,Y/0626/7523,Y/059e/7519,Y/059e/7512,Y/0468/7507
  • {KY/100/0004b1a2/ff,726c/+128,Y/0626/7523,Y/059e/7519,Y/059e/7512,Y/0468/7507
  • {KY/101/0004bd5a/ff,7266/+128,Y/0626/7523,Y/059e/7519,Y/059e/7512,Y/0468/7507
  • {KY/104/0004e082/ff,724a/+128,Y/0626/7523,Y/059e/7519,Y/059e/7512,Y/0468/7507
  • {KY/105/0004ec3a/ff,7241/+129,Y/0626/7523,Y/059e/7519,Y/059e/7512,Y/0468/7507
  • {KY/115/0005616a/ff,71e0/+130,Y/0626/7523,Y/059e/7519,Y/059e/7512,Y/0468/7507
  • {KY/116/00056d22/ff,71d8/+130,Y/0626/7523,Y/059e/7519,Y/059e/7512,Y/0468/7507
  • {KY/117/000578da/ff,71cd/+130,Y/0626/7523,Y/059e/7519,Y/059e/7512,Y/0468/7507
  • {KY/118/00058492/ff,71c4/+130,Y/0626/7523,Y/059e/7519,Y/059e/7512,Y/0468/7507
  • {KY/119/0005904a/ff,71bb/+131,Y/0626/7523,Y/059e/7519,Y/059e/7512,Y/0468/7507
  • {KY/120/00059c02/ff,71b2/+131,Y/0626/7523,Y/059e/7519,Y/059e/7512,Y/0468/7507
  • {KY/121/0005a7ba/ff,71a9/+131,Y/0626/7523,Y/059e/7519,Y/059e/7512,Y/0468/7507
  • {KY/122/0005b372/ff,7187/+130,Y/0626/7523,Y/059e/7519,Y/059e/7512,Y/0468/7507

Each ADAMASat packet indicates that all four cutters successfully cut. The performance of the payload also flight verifies the Payload Interface Module.

Kentucky Space has also developed a Free ADAMASat GUI for the HAM community.