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December 13, 2005 — Stanford University AA236A Laboratory Final Exam

Sharing a light moment during the AA236A final lab demo

Continuing the work that Stanford Professor Bob Twiggs began last year with the AA236A rover final exam, this year Professor James Cutler took over and expanded the scope of the final project to include GPS and more autonomous behavior for each rover.

The lab portion of the class uses the CubeSat Kit's MSP430-based Development Board and adds transceivers, motors, motor drivers, the new CubeSat Kit terrestrial GPS module and other off-the-shelf components. Students have a relatively short time to implement a wide range of hardware and software requirements, resulting in a self-propelled autonomous rover capable of collision avoidance, finding (simulated) water, locating its position via GPS and supporting a packet-based wireless command and control protocol.

We've placed a web gallery of images from the final exam online.


November 18, 2005 — Latin American GNSS Blog Created


A blog (in Spanish and English) is now available at to cover GNSS issues in Latin America. Colombia has two of Pumpkin's CubeSat Kits. Colombia is currently serving as the Secretary Pro Temp for the 4th Space Cenference for the Americas.


September 26-29, 2005 — CubeSat Kit at GNSS Workshop in Bogotá, Colombia

Dr. Andrew E. Kalman discusses the CubeSat Kit in Bogota

The CubeSat Kit was a topic of discussion at the Fourth International Workshop on the Use and Applications of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) in Bogotá, Colombia.

Our presentation from the conference, entitled "Accelerated Picosatellite Design Cycle using the CubeSat Kit™", is now available online in PDF and PPT formats.

Many of the workshop attendees -- from countries throughout Latin America as well as Europe and the United States -- expressed a strong interest in the CubeSat Kit. Various organizations are considering picostallite missions and a few have already established CubeSat programs. We've placed a web gallery of images from the conference online.


September 24, 2005 — New website for the Inflate-a-Brake Project

Inflate-a-Brake on top off 1U CubeSat Kit

The Inflate-a-Brake project based at the University of Florida has a new website at

We first saw the Inflate-a-Brake after presenting at the CubeSat portion of the 19th Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites in August. At the time, all we knew about it was that a team led by Prof. Norman Fitz-Coy at the University of Florida had purchased one of our solid-wall 1U CubeSat Kit structures ... Lo and behold, there, on a table outside the lecture hall was a 1U CubeSat Kit with a very interesting machined aluminum prototype module mounted on top! Needless to say, we were impressed, as were the judges in the conference's Student Scholarship Competition, who awarded the Inflate-a-Brake team of UF students Dante Buckley, Tom Cowan and Jim VanPelt a $2,000 cash prize.

This project is an excellent demonstration of how a user payload (here, the Inflate-a-Brake deorbiting module) can be structurally integrated into the CubeSat Kit . In this case, the CubeSat Kit's top cover is simply replaced with an Inflate-a-Brake module.


September 14, 2005 — CubeSat Programs Profile on has just released a new two-page article on CubeSats.

Along with some pictures, the article highlights the increasingly cooperative nature of CubeSat projects, with Stanford's Professor Bob Twiggs bringing together universities in the United States, Columbia and Romania to work together in order to take advantage of the strengths of each team's CubeSat efforts.


August 16, 2005 — We have a Winner!

iPod mini contest poster

Congratulations to Erik Tormoen at the University of Central Florida (UCF). He is the winner of our iPod mini 4GB giveaway at the 19th Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites. Thank you to all who dropped by our booth to see the CubeSat Kit family and some of our new CubeSat Kit products like the Linear EPS module and the terrestrial GPS module Experiment Board A.

August 6-10, 2005 — At SmallSat Conference in Logan, Utah

CubeSat Kit Family Postcard

download Conference Presentation.PDF

Pumpkin will be at the 19th Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites August 6-10. There we will announce several new products for the CubeSat family. Saturday through Monday morning are dedicated to CubeSat-specific activities organized by Cal Poly University. A CubeSat Kit representative will be in our booth (#74) from Monday afternoon through Wednesday evening. We will give away an iPod mini + HP 4GB to one lucky attendee. Come by and see us.

You can read our presentation for the CubeSat part of the conference here.

July 29, 2005 — Partnership Announced with 1Earth Research & SRI International

download PR-3.PDF

Today Pumpkin announced a partnership with 1Earth Research and SRI International. This partnership will provide the CubeSat community with a wide range of CubeSat mission services. Please read the press release for more information.

July 6, 2005 — Second 3U Chassis Delivered to Customer

3U skeletonized CubeSat Kit chassis

CubeSat Kit customer MIT's Lincoln Laboratories has taken delivery of a 3U skeletonized CubeSat Kit chassis.

June 13 , 2005 — Useful EDN Article on SEEs (Single-Event Effects)

download EDN article on SEEs.PDF

The on-line magazine EDN ran an interesting article in the May 12, 2005 edition on the issues of SEEs and their impact on electronics today.

A PDF version of the EDN article is available online here. It also includes several links to useful articles on the subject of space radiation, including

June 2, 2005 — Midplane Standoffs Revised


CubeSat Kit Midplane Standoffs provide a means of rigidly attaching the module stack in a CubeSat to the Chassis walls. They are typically used in CubeSat Kits that are larger than the standard 1U size. In fact, the 2U and 3U CubeSat Kit Chassis have extra holes in them to accommodate FM430 Flight Moduless in two additional locations by using the Midplane Standoffs and the Remove-Before-Flight Bracket Kit.

The initial Rev A Midplane Standoffs have been replaced with Rev A1 Midplane Standoffs due to some detail improvements. Existing customers with Rev A Midplane Standoffs will receive Rev A1 Midplane Standoffs at no charge.

May 30, 2005 — Email Problems Resolved


There was a problem with our mail account. It has now been fixed.

May 26, 2005 — FAA's 2005 Commercial Space Transportation Forceast Released


The FAA's annual report on commercial space transportation is now available on the FAA website. CubeSats and the CubeSat Kit™ are mentioned in the International Science and Other Payloads section.

April 14, 2005 — 3D CAD models now available


3D CAD models of the CubeSat Kit are now available here in IGES format .

March 18, 2005 — Wide Range of Microhard Transceivers Now Available



Building on the success of their MHX line of wireless transceivers, Microhard Corporation is now able to offer high-power MHX modules in the 400-800MHz range as well as in the established 900MHz and 2.4GHz ranges.

CubeSat Kit customers can now order Microhard spread-spectrum transceivers in a wide range of frequencies (some requiring licenses, some unlicensed). All MHX modules plug directly into the CubeSat Kit without any additional engineering. Contact Microhard for more information.

March 10, 2005 — Interesting New Products at ESC 2005 West

MaxStream Modules

Varta LiPoly Flat Battery

The MaxStream and Varta booths at the Embedded Systems Conference 2005 West displayed new products that might have CubeSat applications.

MaxStream announced their new XBee Zigbee radios at the show. Zigbee is a new unlicensed low-power spread-spectrum wireless interface. What's remarkable about these XBee modules is their size -- about a quarter of the size of an XStream module. Given their low power requirements (the maximum output power of an XBee Zigbee node is 100mW), could XBees be used in space to continuously communicate among multiple CubeSats?

Also, MaxStream's 1W 900MHz spread-spectrum XTend module was there, with a new smaller connector. We plan to offer an adapter for the CubeSat Kit that will accept this transceiver.

Varta was displaying their new line of Poly-Lithium flat batteries. With a very high energy density, a reasonably wide operating and charging temperature range, and parallel / serial stackability, these batteries might be a candidate for CubeSat applications. And they're manufactured in a vacuum!

February 26, 2005 — New Application Note: Direct SLIP Connections in Windows

download AN-32.PDF

The CubeSat Kit software includes a thin web server based on the uIP TCP/IP stack. Pumpkin's new Application Note AN-32 explains how to connect a Windows XP PC to a thin web server using a simple serial connection via Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP).

February 24, 2005 — P-POD Compatibility for 3U Chassis Verified

P-POD with 3U CubeSat Kit

The compatibility of the 3U CubeSat Kit chassis with the P-POD launcher has now been successfully verified. The 340.5mm tall 3U chassis meets all of the CubeSat specifications for three individual 1U CubeSats (each 113.5mm tall) placed on top of one another inside the P-POD launcher.

As is to be expected, a single 3U CubeSat Kit chassis has more internal volume and weighs less than three individual 1U CubeSat Kit chassis,

Access to the 3U CubeSat Kit chassis' USB connector, +5V external power connector and Remove-Before-Flight Pin is ensured at each of the P-POD's three access ports.

February 22, 2005 — First 3U Chassis Arrives, Ready for Delivery

3U skeletonized CubeSat Kit chassis

We now have 3U skeletonized CubeSat Kit chassis in stock and ready for delivery. This CubeSat Kit configuration is one of several that Pumpkin offers for picosatellite missions requiring larger payloads than a 10x10x10cm 1kg Cubesat can provide. Solid-wall and skeletonized versions are available in 3U (shown), 2U and 1.5U in addition to the standard 1U (10x10x10cm). All these chassis retain the CubeSat Kit family modularity. Base Plates, End Plates and all internal modules are interchangeable across the entire family, enabling our customers to migrate to a larger chassis while preserving their existing CubeSat Kit investment.

The 340.5mm tall 3U assembly completely fills a standard P-POD launcher. The successful QuakeSat mission of 2003 is an example of a picosatellite that utilized the entire volume of the P-POD launcher. The 3U CubeSat Kit chassis can accomodate up to three FM430 Flight Modules with access to the USB and Remove-Before-Flight pins as is prescribed by the P-POD specification. FM430 Flight Modules can even be mounted in other positions via the optional FM430 Remote Mount Kit.

February 21, 2005 — New CubeSat Kit Website Goes Live

CubeSat Kit logo Our original 6-page website was starting to show its age. So we've completely overhauled it with a great new look, and with the ability to add much more information as the need arises. Note that the site search won't search properly until Google revisits our site.

February 14, 2005 — Pumpkin gets Booth #74 at SmallSat Conference 2005

SmallSat logo Come to the 2005 SmallSat conference in Logan, Utah on August 8-11, 2005. Check out the CubeSat Kit in booth #74 and talk with us about the CubeSat Kit family and the picosatellite design and manufacturing services we offer.


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