Call for Application: BIRDS-X APRS Mission Payload Design Competition


​​Kyushu Institute of Technology, the organisers of the Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite project (BIRDS), invites qualified applicants to apply for the BIRDS-X Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) Payload Design Competition. The competition aims to provide an opportunity for students, engineers, space enthusiasts and amateur radio operators to launch their designed payload in a 2U CubeSat based on BIRDS Open-Source Bus design

The competition is open to everyone. However, five final APRS payloads will be selected through a series of competition phases. If selected, the payload designs will be launched into space and provide services to the amateur radio community through APRS digipeating and the Store and Forward (S&F) mission. 

The competition will be performed in three phases.

Phase 1

Phase 1 will determine the motivation, objectives and expected outcomes of all teams for participating in the BIRDS-X APRS Payload Design Competition. Selection of teams will be made based on the submitted application form and video explaining the motivation, objective, and concept of operations. 

The deadline for applications of phase 1 will be on the 28th of February of 2023 and requires uploading a set of deliverables as well as consent for open sourcing.  For more information, please refer to the attached handbook.

Phase 2

Phase 2 is to determine the commitment and progress of all teams to develop BIRDS-X APRS Payload and select the ten best teams to proceed to Phase 3. Each team should have a breadboard model developed, Proof of Concept of operation verified and preliminary test results. 

The second Phase starts on the 10th of March and finishes by the 31st of May with the selection of 10 finalists. The team selection will be based on the deliverables summarised in the Progress Report form available here. In addition, more detailed interface control documents (ICD) and webinars will be provided for additional information.

Phase 3

Phase 3 is to select the final five payload designs that will be launched in the BIRD-X satellite. The final teams will be selected based on the technical compatibility of the submitted Engineering Models with the satellite bus. Finally, the payloads will be integrated with the satellite bus, and a series of tests will be performed. 

The third phase starts on the 31st of May, with the submission of the EM (Engineering Model) payload boards on the 31st of August of 2023, the selection of the 5 winners on the 31st of October of 2023, and the submission of the flight model boards by the 31st of December of 2023. Furthermore, this schedule is arranged to permit the satellite to be released into space in Sept. of 2024.

The BIRDS-X team will provide detailed information regarding the payload design for developing the EM (Engineering Model) board, and all teams MUST comply with the following requirements:

  1. Physical dimensions (mass, position of holes, size, thickness)
  2. Software and commands ICD
  3. PIN assignment
  4. Power consumption and operating voltage
  5. Programming platform and communication protocols
  6. Antenna connector type
  7. Testing and integration procedures
  8. Manufacturing numbers 
Important Links
  • Please find detailed information regarding the competition in the handbook
  • Check here for more information regarding the call for application 

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