Calypso is a volunteer cubesat project sponsored by ARES Institute, Inc. and Phoenix Launch Systems to study visible light communications from space. Calypso is based on a 1U cubesat bus that we currently have in possession from Pumpkin, Inc. To this, we are adding an additional 2U that comprises the experimental payload. We welcome support on Patreon below and invite everyone to become involved by following the “Get Involved” above:

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The primary objective for the Calypso Cubesat is to collect atmospheric data to allow the use of deep learning on optical communication systems. Free space optical communication techniques have been the subject of numerous investigations in recent years, with multiple missions expected to fly in the near future. Existing methods require high pointing accuracies, dramatically driving up overall system cost. Recent developments in LED-based visible light communication (VLC) and past in-orbit experiments have convinced us that the technology has reached a critical level of maturity. On these premises designed a new optical communication system utilizing a VLC downlink and a high throughput, omnidirectional photovoltaic cell receiver system.

By performing error-correction via deep learning methods and by utilizing phase-delay interference, the system is able to deliver data rates that match those of traditional laser-based solutions. Calypso will allow us to mature the technology and to provide an opportunity for the full scale development of optical communication techniques on small spacecraft as a backup telemetry beacon or as a high throughput link.

At the same time, we recognized that such a system provides an excellent platform for STEM outreach. With an apparent visible magnitude of 2.5, the transmitter complements a Raspberry Pi payload to enable real-time student interaction with the satellite and user applications to be uploaded to the payload computer.


The Aerospace Research & Engineering Systems Institute, Inc. (ARES Institute) is a non-profit educational and scientific organization that promotes space exploration, advanced technology development and STEM education. The organization was founded in 2003 and is a registered tax-exempt organization under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code (documentary letter of proof is available at http://aresinstitute.org/home/official-documents/. ARES Institute pursues its mission of research and education by establishing innovative hands-on programs involving students, educational institutions and the general public across the United States.

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Our Patreon Page Is Now Live

We have set up a page on Patreon where you can show your support, donate and receive exciting rewards. Everything from access to our private server, a mission shirt and even VIP invitation to the launch of Calypso! Check it out: https://www.patreon.com/calypsocubesat.


ARES Institute, Inc.
c/o Matthew Travis
105 Bowler Springs St.
Las Vegas, NV 89148