"The launch service shall be capable of delivering a total mass of between 15kg-150kg to a minimum orbital altitude of 425km with a launch inclination from 0 to 98 degrees. The contractor will be responsible for performance of launch vehicle advance planning and analysis; as well as design, development, production, integration, and testing required to provide the launch services appropriate to transport these payloads to a desired orbit. There are multiple CubeSat configurations based on the 1U form factor such as a 2U (22cm x 10cm x 10cm), 3U (34cm x 10cm x 10cm), 6U (34cm x 20cm x 10cm) etc. The minimum launch service shall have the capability to launch three Government provided (3 - 3U) Cubesat-Class payloads, with the offeror determining the total number or mass that the launch vehicle will be able to accommodate. Launch is anticipated in the 2016 timeframe, however it could be earlier if the provider is ready. The launch service provider will be responsible for obtaining a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) license and securing any necessary Range assets for the launch." More
Recently in Smallsats (Microsats/Nanosats/Picosats) Category
"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center (ARC) is releasing a Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN) for Smallsat Technology Partnerships in support of the Small Spacecraft Technology Program in the Space Technology Mission Directorate. Through this CAN, NASA is seeking proposals from colleges and universities across the United States to develop and/or demonstrate new technologies and capabilities for small spacecraft in collaboration with NASA. Projects may be technology development or development of spacecraft or payloads for suborbital, balloon or orbital space flights. NASA intends to enter into cooperative agreements with institutions for selected projects." More
"The tiny spacecraft passenger for Vega's upcoming Flight VV02 is getting the same "white glove" treatment as the launch's two larger payloads, with Estonia's ESTCube-1 student satellite now mission-ready at the Spaceport in French Guiana. In the Spaceport's S1B clean room, ESTCube-1 has been integrated in its box-type dispenser - readying the cubesat for integration in the Vega launcher's payload "stack," along with the Proba-V and VNREDSat-1A passengers. ESTCube-1 is the first Estonian satellite, built by a collaboration of students from Tartu University, Estonian Aviation Academy, Tallinn University of Technology and University of Life Sciences, and was developed in conjunction with the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the German Space Center (DLR)." More
"NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) recently selected E. coli AntiMicrobial Satellite (EcAMSat) as one of 24 small satellites to fly as secondary payloads aboard rockets planned to launch in 2014, 2015 and 2016. EcAMSat is being developed through a partnership between NASA's Ames Research Center and the Stanford University School of Medicine. It will be the first NASA mission in the "6U" configuration, with six times the volume of a single cubesat unit ("1U"). Cubesats belong to a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The cube-shaped satellites measure about four inches on each side, have a volume of about one quart, and weigh less than three pounds. Though it is large for a nanosatellite, the 6U EcAMSat weighs only about 30 pounds and measures approximately 14.4 inches long, 8.9 inches wide and 3.9 inches tall." More
"ESA is offering software developers the opportunity to use its new testbed in space. The robust nanosat will allow individuals, companies and institutions to try out pioneering software without the danger of losing a mission. Satellites are so complex and costly that their controllers cannot afford to take risks. The need for reliability means that onboard and ground control software has not altered significantly in the past 20 years. But the tiny Ops-Sat, a CubeSat combining commercial off-the-shelf technology and ESA expertise, is a chance to try out new ideas in space as early as 2015. "This satellite is designed for experimenting with mission-critical software both on board and on the ground," says Dave Evans, Ops-Sat project manager at ESA's European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. "This means it must be flexible, powerful and robust." More
"NASA recently selected cubesat projects for flight opportunities as part of its CubeSat Launch Initiative in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. Three of these projects are sponsored by the Space Technology Mission Directorate and are managed by the Small Spacecraft Technology Program (SSTP) at Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., and will be launched by the Launch Services Program at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Fla. These cubesats are research spacecraft that weigh less than five pounds and measure approximately four by four by 12 inches. These miniature spacecraft will be launched to Earth orbit as auxiliary payloads between 2014 and 2016." More
"STRaND-1, the nanosatellite carrying a smartphone, has been declared operational in orbit by the mission team from the University of Surrey's Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL). The satellite successfully separated from the Indian PSLV launcher in low Earth orbit after its launch on 25th February, and first contact with STRaND-1 was made on its second pass over the Guildford ground station. STRaND-1 is being commissioned and operated from the Surrey Space Centre's ground station at the University of Surrey. Initial checks have confirmed that critical systems are all functioning as expected." More
"NASA has selected 24 small satellites to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard rockets planned to launch in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The proposed CubeSats come from universities across the country, a Florida high school, several non-profit organizations and NASA field centers. CubeSats belong to a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The cube-shaped satellites measure about 4 inches on each side, have a volume of about 1 quart, and weigh less than 3 pounds. The selections are from the fourth round of the CubeSat Launch Initiative. After launch, the satellites will conduct technology demonstrations, educational research or science missions. The selected CubeSats will be eligible for flight after final negotiations and an opportunity for flight becomes available." More
"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a requirement to launch pico-, nano-, and/or micro-satellites (CubeSats) into earth orbit. A CubeSat is a type of miniaturized space research satellite that typically uses commercial, off-the-shelf electronic components. NASA/ John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) plans to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for CubeSat deployer hardware and integration services. The requirement includes engineering development support, deployer carrier hardware, CubeSat to deployer and deployer to launch vehicle (LV) integration, and system testing." More
"The First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, took a close-up view of Scotland's first satellite today. Clyde Space, which designed and built the UKube-1 nanosatellite, is running final tests at the company's headquarters in the West of Scotland Science Park ahead of its deployment next month to Kazakhstan, where it will be launched in a Russian Soyuz-2 rocket later this year. Employing more than 20 highly-skilled full-time staff, Clyde Space is a leading producer of small satellite, nanosatellite and 'CubeSat' systems - fully-functional satellites that 'piggy-back' on other launches to minimise costs and boost the commercial availability of space research. The company develops and delivers products to commercial aerospace, defence companies and academic teams around the world and now plans to open a base next year in the United States - which already accounts for almost a third of its current orders." More
"A UK mission, jointly developed by the University of Surrey's Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), to send the world's first smartphone satellite into orbit, is due to launch on 25th February. The unique and innovative satellite, called STRaND-1 (the Surrey Training, Research and Nanosatellite Demonstrator), is a 30cm CubeSat weighing 4.3kg. It will launch into a 785km sun-synchronous orbit on ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from Sriharikota, India. STRaND-1 will also be the first UK CubeSat to be launched and has been developed by talented space engineers and researchers at Surrey with the majority of the design and developmental work being carried out in their spare time. The build and test phase of the project has been completed in just three months." More
"ESA invites European student teams who are building CubeSats with mainly educational objectives to propose their satellite for the new 'Fly Your Satellite!' programme. 'Fly Your Satellite!' is an exciting new initiative from the ESA Education and Knowledge Management Office. It is focused on CubeSat projects run by university students and builds on the successful 'CubeSats for the Vega Maiden Flight' pilot programme, which culminated in 2012 with the launch of seven university student-built CubeSats on board the Vega Maiden Flight. In the future, this new initiative is intended to cover the complete development process of a satellite from concept to launch. However, the 2013 edition will be dedicated to teams whose satellite is already at an advanced stage of development and able to complete the Flight Model assembly by June 2013. One, two or three-unit CubeSats are eligible." More
"A new satellite mission designed by university students is entering the advanced stages of development. A new contract appoints ALMASpace, Italy, the prime contractor. The European Student Earth Orbiter (ESEO) is a micro-satellite mission to low Earth orbit. Newly appointed prime contractor ALMASpace, Italy, will now oversee its final development, integration, testing, and in-orbit commissioning by European university students. The mission's primary goal is to provide students with extensive, hands-on experience of a space project. This will equip them with the necessary skills to confidently enter the high-technology workplace of Europe's future. 'With ESEO, ESA's Education and Knowledge Management Office will continue pursuing its objective of offering hands-on activities to university students across Europe. Working on real space projects has a strong inspirational value and offers the best professional preparation for Europe's future engineers and scientists,' says Piero Galeone, ESA's Head of the Tertiary Education Unit." More
"ESA's Proba-V microsatellite is now assembled and midway through testing to ensure it is fully spaceworthy. The miniature Earth-observer, designed to chart global vegetation every two days, will be launched in April. The testing at the specialised Intespace facility in Toulouse, France, includes rigorous simulations of Proba-V's take-off conditions and the hard vacuum and temperature extremes it must endure in orbit. It comes after Proba-V's assembly was completed by prime contractor QinetiQ Space at its facility in Kruibeke, Belgium last month. Building it was a complex operation. Although smaller than a cubic metre, the satellites carries a wide-angle telescope for its main Earth-monitoring instrument, a pair of radiation sensors, a fibre optic connector experiment, a prototype radio transmitter based on the semiconductor gallium nitride, and a test receiver to track aircraft in flight all around the globe." More
"This is a Request for Information (RFI) only and does not constitute a commitment, implied or otherwise, that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)/Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)/Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) will take procurement action in this matter. Further, neither NASA nor the Government will be responsible for any cost incurred in furnishing this information. NASA recognizes the interest by educational institutions, science museums, and other appropriate organizations in the Manufacturing of the Wallops 6U CubeSat Deployer, Manufacturing of the Wallops 6U CubeSat Satellite Structure, Flying the Wallops 6U CubeSat Deployer, Marketing the Wallops 6U CubeSat Deployer and 6U CubeSat Satellite Structure, and Investing in Deployer Technologies. NASA intends to enter into multiple agreements for technical transfer." More
"Doubts still hang over the military utility of small satellites, holding back progress on low-cost, quick-reaction systems that could be launched at short notice to fill gaps in space coverage. To prove their viability, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) has begun a program to demonstrate that small satellites produced and launched on demand can provide imagery on request directly to individual soldiers. Darpa's goal is to show that a constellation of 24 satellites, each weighing less than 100 lb., can be launched into low Earth orbit (LEO) at a fraction of the cost of acquiring additional unmanned aircraft to provide the same imagery. Raytheon has received the first contract under the Space Enabled Effects for Military Engagements (SeeMe) program. The $1.5 million contract is for the nine-month first phase to design a small imaging satellite. Darpa says other contracts will be awarded as well. Darpa's Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (Alasa) program is developing the booster to launch the SeeMe satellites quickly and affordably. Alasa is to be air-launched at short notice from a tactical fighter or business jet with minimal modification to the aircraft." More at Aviation Week
"The UK Space Agency will be running a Cubesat Community Workshop in January. Registration for the workshop is now open. This is a free event and is open to all, hosted by the Open University, Milton Keynes, on 22 January 2013. Please note that space is limited and places will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis. The event will be an opportunity for the UK Space Agency to provide the cubesat community with an update on its pilot cubesat mission UKube-1, due for launch in early 2013, and to discuss the overall philosophy and timing for the proposed UKube-2 programme. Attendees will have the opportunity to provide input on the future direction of a proposed rolling national programme of cubesat missions. Parallel breakout sessions will be held as detailed in the downloadable programme. These themes have been selected in response to the common issues raised by members of the community." More
"After two successful years of on-orbit operations, NASA's Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite, or FASTSAT, mission is coming to an end. FASTSAT successfully demonstrated a capability to build, deploy and operate a science and technology flight mission at lower costs than previously possible. The satellite was designed, developed and tested over a period of 14 months at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., in partnership with the Von Braun Center for Science & Innovation and Dynetics, both of Huntsville, and the Department of Defense's Space Test Program. FASTSAT used off-the-shelf commercial hardware provided by NASA and a group of industry partners. Weighing slightly less than 400 pounds and carrying six technology and atmospheric science experiments, FASTSAT provided an opportunity to conduct innovative research and mature the readiness of new technologies for future missions." More
"In December 2012, Austria will launch its first two satellites: UniBRITE and BRITE-Austria. This is the first pair of three, forming a network called BRITE-Constellation. The other pairs being contributed by Canada and Poland. The primary goal of BRITE-Constellation is the exploration of short term intensity variations of bright stars (V>6 mag) for a few years. For each satellite pair, one will employ a blue filter and the other a red filter. With the discovery of the first exoplanet in 1992, more than 800 have been detected since. The high-precision photometry from the BRITE instrument will enable a transit search for exoplanets around bright stars. To estimate the capability of BRITE to detect planets, we include in our calculations technical constraints, such as photometric noise levels for stars accessible by BRITE, the duty cycle and duration of observations. The most important parameter is the fraction of stars harboring a planet. Our simulation is based on 2695 stars distributed over the entire sky. Kepler data indicate that at minimum 34% of all stars are orbited by at least one of five different planetary sizes: Earth, Super-Earth, Uranus, Jupiter and Super-Jupiter. Depending on the duty cycle and duration of the observations, about six planets should be detectable in 180 days, of which about five of them being of Jupiter size." More
"Engineers at the University of Glasgow and Clyde Space Ltd have developed a practical solution to the increasing problem of space debris. Millions of pieces of 'space junk' are orbiting the Earth as a side-effect of human exploration and exploitation of space. The pieces range from tiny fragments of bigger objects such as rocket boosters to full-sized pieces of now-defunct equipment. Working satellites and spacecraft can be damaged by collisions with debris, which can travel at velocities of several kilometres per second. The problem is compounded by every collision which creates more debris in turn; in 2009, the collision of a non-operational Russian communications satellite and a working US satellite created more than 700 pieces of debris. Dr Patrick Harkness of the University's School of Engineering has led the development of the Aerodynamic End Of Life Deorbit System, or AEOLDOS, to help ensure that objects sent into space in future can be removed from orbit at the end of their operational cycle." More - with video
"This annual competition is open to university and college students from the United States, Canada, Mexico and other countries. Teams of three to 10 students must design, build and launch a sensor payload called a CanSat. Each CanSat is slightly larger than a soda can and must be built according to the specifications released by the competition organizing committee." More
"Last week at the Canadian Space Summit Pete Worden was one of the invited keynote speakers. His topic was Small Satellites for Science and Other Uses and as an example: Earth Observation, promises and challenges. Among the technologies he discusses is the Interplanetary Internet and what the future might hold. The talk is about 30 minutes with a 12 minute question and answer session."
"NASA's PhoneSat project has won Popular Science's 2012 Best of What's New Award for innovation in aerospace. PhoneSat will demonstrate the ability to launch one of the lowest-cost, easiest-to-build satellites ever flown in space -- capabilities enabled by using off-the-shelf consumer smartphones. Each year, Popular Science reviews thousands of new products and innovations, and chooses the top 100 winners across 12 categories for its annual Best of What's New issue. To win, a product or technology must represent a significant step forward in its category. All of the winners will be featured in the December special issue of the magazine. "NASA's PhoneSat mission will demonstrate use of small satellites for space commerce, educational activities and citizen-exploration are well within the reach of ordinary Americans because of lower cost, commercially available components," said Michael Gazarik, director of NASA's Space Technology Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Thanks to America's continuing investment in space technology to enable NASA missions, we've seen space tech brought down and into our lives here on Earth. With PhoneSat, we're doubling up, and taking those same great technologies back to space." More
"NASA engineers, student interns and amateur radio enthusiasts around the world are listening for signals from a small, cube-shaped satellite launched into orbit from the International Space Station Thursday. The satellite, dubbed "TechEdSat," was released at 11:44 a.m. EDT from the new Japanese Small Satellite Orbital Deployer aboard the space station. TechEdSat measures about 4 inches (10 centimeters) on a side and carries a ham radio transmitter. It was developed by a group of student interns from San Jose State University (SJSU) in California with mentoring and support from staff at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. TechEdSat arrived at the space station aboard the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle July 21 and the station's Expedition 33 crew processed it for launch." More
"Marc Smotherman, ATA's task manager for the STAT's chamber data acquisition and control system, said, "One of the requirements for the STAT facility was to install a government-furnished microsatellite in the STAT chamber during final system tests. "The satellite earmarked for this effort became unavailable. The Air Force approached ATA for a solution. An ATA team composed of John Prebola, Carrie McInturff (ATA's STAT project engineer and lead for the facility's distributed mission operation system) and I developed requirements for the microsatellite." The main requirements were that all the microsatellite components had flown in space and that the instrumentation be included with the microsatellite so that it could measure certain environmental parameters it would encounter in the STAT chamber. "Carrie and I developed a software and hardware design for the microsatellite that includes not only the microsatellite design," Smotherman said, "but design of ground support systems to monitor the status of the microsatellite in the STAT chamber." The design drawings for the microsatellite and ground support hardware were given to Roger Johnson, an ATA instrumentation technician expert." More
"Students in different age groups are being invited by ESA to participate in three educational programmes that will take place during 2013. Each programme is an exciting opportunity to design an experiment and conduct scientific research. ESA is now inviting proposals for the Spin Your Thesis! campaign. This programme enables university students to carry out experiments in hypergravity, using the Large Diameter Centrifuge at the Agency's ESTEC space research and technology centre in the Netherlands. It is open to undergraduate students and those following a Masters or PhD course. Up to four teams will be selected. The deadline for proposal submissions is 10 December. Another call is for the European CanSat competition. The CanSats, similar in volume and shape to a soft-drink can, will be launched on a small rocket from the Netherlands. The primary task of each CanSat will be to measure atmospheric temperature and pressure during the flight." More
"An experimental camera smaller than an espresso cup on ESA's Proba-2 microsatellite caught this view of soon-to-be Hurricane Isaac as it moved west of the Florida coast into the Gulf of Mexico on Monday. The small satellite's X-Cam - Exploration Camera - acquired this image at 11:38:33 GMT on 27 August. At the time, Isaac was a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of around 100 km/hr, with storm-force winds extending around 360 km from its centre. Isaac is expected to become a fully fledged hurricane during Tuesday, fed by the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Less than a cubic metre in size, Proba-2's main mission focuses on observing the Sun and space weather." More.
"NASA's PhoneSat project will demonstrate the ability to launch the lowest-cost and easiest to build satellites ever flown in space - capabilities enabled by using off-the-shelf consumer smartphones to build spacecraft. A small team of engineers working on NASA's PhoneSat at the agency's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., aim to rapidly evolve satellite architecture and incorporate the Silicon Valley approach of "release early, release often" to small spacecraft. To achieve this, NASA's PhoneSat design makes extensive use of commercial-off-the-shelf components, including an unmodified, consumer-grade smartphone. Out of the box smartphones already offer a wealth of capabilities needed for satellite systems, including fast processors, versatile operating systems, multiple miniature sensors, high-resolution cameras, GPS receivers, and several radios." More.
"A penny-sized rocket thruster may soon power the smallest satellites in space. The device, designed by Paulo Lozano, an associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, bears little resemblance to today's bulky satellite engines, which are laden with valves, pipes and heavy propellant tanks. Instead, Lozano's design is a flat, compact square -- much like a computer chip -- covered with 500 microscopic tips that, when stimulated with voltage, emit tiny beams of ions. Together, the array of spiky tips creates a small puff of charged particles that can help propel a shoebox-sized satellite forward. "They're so small that you can put several [thrusters] on a vehicle," Lozano says. He adds that a small satellite outfitted with several microthrusters could "not only move to change its orbit, but do other interesting things -- like turn and roll." Lozano and his group in MIT's Space Propulsion Laboratory and Microsystems Technology Laboratory presented their new thruster array at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics' recent Joint Propulsion Conference." More
A small ball-shaped science satellite is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 32 crew member after its deployment during a session of extravehicular activity (EVA). Earth's horizon and the blackness of space provide the backdrop for the scene. More
"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) anticipates making launch opportunities for a limited number of CubeSats available on launches currently planned for 2013-2016. The CubeSat Launch Initiative is a project to demonstrate viable launch opportunities for CubeSat payloads as auxiliary payloads on planned missions. NASA anticipates using its authority to enter into one or more collaborative Agreements with selected Respondents ("Collaborators") to support the CubeSat Launch Initiative. During the project, NASA will provide integration and other services as necessary to complete the launch activity. The CubeSat Launch Initiative is open to NASA centers, U.S. not-for-profit organizations, and accredited U.S. educational organizations. Participation in the CubeSat Launch Initiative will be contingent upon selection by NASA and negotiation of an appropriate Agreement between NASA and the Collaborator. Proposed CubeSat investigations must address an aspect of science, exploration, technology development, education, or operations encompassed by NASA's strategic goals and outcomes as identified in the NASA Strategic Plan and/or the NASA Education Vision and Goals." More
"Centennial Challenges is a program of prize competitions to stimulate innovation in technologies of interest and value to NASA and the nation. In 2010 NASA announced a Nano-Satellite Launch (NSL) Challenge to encourage development of safe, low-cost, small-payload delivery systems for frequent access to low Earth orbit (LEO) through innovations in propulsion and other technologies as well as operations and management for broader applications in future launch systems that could result in a commercial capability for dedicated launches of small satellites at a cost comparable to secondary payload launches--a potential new market with Government, commercial, and academic customers. To assist in formulation of the Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge, NASA is seeking additional information on the nano-satellite market and on approaches to address the market needs. There are currently several existing launch vehicles and new launch vehicle programs that could provide ride-sharing opportunities for nano-satellite. A NASA NSL Challenge could focus on a vehicle dedicated to providing greater payload design flexibility for cubesats and other small payloads, more frequent access to space at costs comparable or less than existing or proposed ride-share launch options." More
Flight Opportunities for Payloads Maturing Crosscutting Technologies that Advance Multiple Future Space Missions to Flight Readiness Status
"Dear Flight Opportunities community: We are pleased to announce the release of Announcement of Flight Opportunities #5 (AFO5) today. This new call brings back the opportunity to propose to the parabolic flight platform, in addition to our current sRLV and balloon providers. Proposal due date is September 21, with a tentative announcement of selections in November 2012."
"NASA has chosen three teams to advance the state of the art for small spacecraft in the areas of communications, formation flying and docking systems. The cutting-edge space technology flights are expected to take place in 2014 and 2015. All selected missions will employ nanosatellites conforming to the CubeSat standard. CubeSats are composed of four-inch, cube-shaped units with each having a volume of about one quart and a weight of approximately three pounds. CubeSats can be joined to create multiple-unit spacecraft. They readily can be accommodated as secondary payloads or rideshares on a number of space launch vehicles." More
"A lightweight spacecraft with capabilities that punch above its weight could provide the perfect launching pad for a sustainable Australian space program, a leading engineer says. Dr Steven Tsitas from the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER) atUNSW has developed an innovative system design for a new shoebox-sized spacecraft that enables night imaging and agricultural monitoring missions previously requiring much larger crafts. With the right instrumentation, the 8-kilogram spacecraft known as the 6U CubeSat can perform some of the commercial earth-observationmissions of 'microsatellites' that weigh around 100 kg and are roughly the size of a washing machine, he says."
"Our mission is to provide affordable space exploration for everyone! We want to get you into space! Once launched, the ArduSat (Arduino - satellite) will be the first open platform allowing the general public to design and run their own space-based applications, games and experiments, steer the onboard cameras to take pictures on-demand, and even broadcast personalized messages back to Earth. By supporting the project you're not only reserving your place at a discounted price at the front of the line to use it once it's in space, but you're helping us develop a platform to make space access affordable and achievable for anyone."
"Space innovators at the University of Surrey and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) are developing 'STRaND-2', a twin-satellite mission to test a novel in-orbit docking system based upon XBOX Kinect technology that could change the way space assets are built, maintained and decommissioned. STRaND-2 is the latest mission in the cutting edge STRaND (Surrey Training, Research and Nanosatellite Demonstrator) programme, following on from the smartphone-powered STRaND-1 satellite that is near completion. Similar in design to STRaND-1, the identical twin satellites will each measure 30cm (3 unit Cubesat) in length, and utilise components from the XBOX Kinect games controller to scan the local area and provide the satellites with spatial awareness on all three axes."
CubeSats to NanoSats; Bridging the gap between educational tools and science workhorses, Aerospace Conference, 2012 IEEE
Since their initial development and launch in the early 2000's, the CubeSat platform has captured the imagination and energy of our next generation of spacecraft technologists around the world. Once thought of by the established space community as "toys" and educational novelties, the CubeSat has revolutionized the space-community and broken the acceptance barrier with proven development and on-orbit performance. Leveraging CalPoly's published specification, CubeSats have demonstrated the advantages of a common form factor that can be launched and deployed using a common deployment system by smashing the cost-to-orbit price-point while offering significant mission manifest flexibility. The challenge now lies in transitioning the strengths and success of the CubeSat to mainstream science investigations. While the CubeSat's successes combined with today's budget constraints have served to open the established space community to discussions of innovative ideas to reduce costs; it faces both perceived and real constraints related to mission applications, reliability, payload performance, communications, and operations. The CubeSat model must be evolved to penetrate the stigmas and applied appropriately to become an accepted tool in the world of mainstream science investigations. This paper identifies issues and presents potential solutions and lessons-learned regarding these issues based on several recent mission concept developments for potential real-world applications.
"The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) would like to announce that the Small Demonstration Satellite-4 (SDS-4) completed its critical phase operations and moved to the initial phase. The SDS-4 was launched by the H-IIA F21 at 1:39 a.m. on May 18, 2012 (Japan Standard Time) as a secondary payload with the Global Change Observation Satellite 1st - Water "SHIZUKU" (GCOM-1.)"
Flexure Engineering is creating the LunarCubes Working Group and LunarCubes workshops to promote the creation of a standard to facilitate the development of low cost, rapid development payloads that easily could be added to the many Lunar opportunities that will arise in the coming decades.
LunarCubes - The Next Frontier
October 4-6, 2012, Mountain View California
Call for Papers : June 1, 2012
To learn more go to: http://lunar-cubes.com
Novel CubeSat Payloads for Naval Space Missions, US Navy SBIR/STTR
"Nano-satellites are popular among universities and gaining momentum with commercial and government organizations. Standards based satellite buses and deployment mechanisms, such as the CubeSat and Poly Pico-satellite Orbital Deployer (P-POD), have stimulated growth in the area. Small satellites have proven capable and cost effective in many areas traditionally dominated by large satellites, however many challenges remain.
Beyond state of the art research is needed to drastically reduce the size, weight and power of payloads that have traditionally performed Naval space missions on much larger satellites. Traditional Naval space missions include narrowband communications (UHF Follow On, Mobile User Objective System), astrometry (Joint Milli-Arcsecond Pathfinder Survey), and ocean sensing (GEOdetic SATellite, GEOSAT Follow On). Other missions of Naval interest will also be considered. Smaller, more cost effective satellites will enable the Navy to continue vital space missions despite limited resources."
"Universities around the world are now working together to understand what is happening at a micro-level in the plasma clouds. When they have found the answers, the space experts will be able to forecast space weather, just like meteorologists forecast the Earth's weather every day. UiO has developed very small instruments that can measure micro-structures and turbulence in the plasma clouds. The instrument consists of four needles that can be mounted on satellites about the size of a milk carton. No one else has managed this."
"National Aeronautics and Space Administration(NASA)Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) is considering multiple missions on Cubesat-class platforms to conduct technology demonstrations, which advance the technology readiness level (TRL) of these systems. Systems providing novel in-space primary propulsion as well as spacecraft to ground communication and spacecraft to spacecraft communication cross-links for Cubesats are of interest. GSFC teams will be submitting proposals to the Edison Small Satellite Technology Demonstration (Edison) Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) in May 2012."
Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time): May 07, 2012
Synopsis of Program: Lack of essential observations from space is currently a major limiting factor in many areas of geospace and atmospheric research. Recent advances in sensor and spacecraft technologies make it feasible to obtain key measurements from low-cost, small satellite missions. A particularly promising aspect of this development is the prospect for obtaining multi-point observations in space that are critical for addressing many outstanding problems in space and atmospheric sciences. Space-based measurements from small satellites also have great potential to advance discovery and understanding in geospace and atmospheric sciences in many other ways. To take full advantage of these developments, NSF is soliciting research proposals centered on small satellite missions.
The overarching goal of the program is to support the development, construction, launch, operation, and data analysis of small satellite science missions to advance geospace and atmospheric research. Equally important, it will provide essential opportunities to train the next generation of experimental space scientists and aerospace engineers.
To facilitate launch of the satellites as secondary payloads on existing missions, the focus of the program is on CubeSat-based satellites. Launch of the satellites will mainly be through the standardized CubeSat deployment system, the Poly Picosatellite Orbital Deployer (P-POD). Launch of the P-PODS will be as auxiliary payloads on DOD, NASA, or commercial launches. This will be arranged after selection and is not part of this solicitation. This solicitation covers proposals for science missions to include satellite development, construction, testing and operation as well as data distribution and scientific analysis.
Innovative Nanosat Will Test Space Software
"How do you test ground-breaking satellite software under real flight conditions? Why not build a satellite? A new design developed by ESA promises new opportunities for European space industry to test software on an actual mission in space. The popular image of a 21st-century satellite includes a sleek design, gossamer solar arrays, ultra-high-tech components and cutting-edge digital electronics. And the onboard software must be the very latest thing, too, right? Wrong. Or, at least, the reality is much more prosaic: software used in satellites today is certainly good, but it rarely runs the latest operating systems, languages or interfaces. "Space software is generally older because it is selected for its proven, rock-solid reliability rather than its use of the latest and newest programming technologies," says Dave Evans, a mission concept engineer at ESOC, ESA's European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany. "ESA is still using the Packet Utilisation Standard to control our satellites, which was defined in 1994. "Today, the software for terrestrial computers has completely changed. Who else do you know still using software from 1994? Back then, PCs were running Windows 3.1 with 3.5-inch floppy disks."
"NASA/ARC plans to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a minimum of 14 units, with options for up to 6 additional units, for a maximum of 20, identical flight-qualified payload instrument packages. These packages must be designed to interface with the Government-furnished EtherSat bus for the purpose of demonstrating distributed multipoint space physics measurements hosted by the Ethersat constellation. A provision of 25% spare parts/units (detailed in Delivery section of the draft Statement of Work) is additionally to be provided. One "engineering development unit"(EDU) (for evaluation purposes) is also to be delivered, near mid-term. The period of performance is to be less than 7 months total duration, with delivery required in November 2012 to meet NASA's satellite integration schedule."
NASA Announces Third Round Of CubeSat Space Mission Candidates
"NASA has selected 33 small satellites to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard rockets planned to launch in 2013 and 2014. The proposed CubeSats come from universities across the country, the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation, NASA field centers and Department of Defense organizations. CubeSats are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The cube-shaped satellites are approximately four inches long, have a volume of about one quart and weigh less than three pounds. The selections are from the third round of the CubeSat Launch Initiative. After launch, the satellites will conduct technology demonstrations, educational research or science missions. The selected spacecraft are eligible for flight after final negotiations and an opportunity for flight becomes available."
NASA Notice: Scientific Payload for Multipoint Space Physics Measurements: Nanosat Cubesat
"This notice is to solicit information from the small satellite community. NASA is seeking sources to develop and deliver a low cost, 1/2U (10cmx5cmx10cm) scientific payload for multipoint space physics measurements on a NanoSat Spacecraft of 1.5U CubeSat form factor. Please see the attached "Draft" Statement of Work (SOW) for additional details regarding this future acquisition."
"NASA, through this BAA, plans to seek proposals for low-cost, flight demonstrations for small satellite technology. This procurement will accelerate the development of small spacecraft capabilities for NASA, commercial, and other space sector users. Successful proposals will provide a compelling infusion strategy that ensures that the proposed technology will find active utility after the completion of the flight demonstration mission. The small spacecraft demonstration missions under the Edison Program are intended to flight- validate one or more small spacecraft subsystem technologies or mission capabilities with game-changing and/or crosscutting potential, specifically maturation from NASA Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 5 or 6 to TRL 7."
"After spending more than 240 days "sailing" around the Earth, NASA's NanoSail-D -- a nanosatellite that deployed NASA's first-ever solar sail in low-Earth orbit - has successfully completed its Earth orbiting mission. Launched to space Nov 19, 2010 as a payload on NASA's FASTSAT, a small satellite, NanoSail-D's sail deployed on Jan. 20. The flight phase of the mission successfully demonstrated a deorbit capability that could potentially be used to bring down decommissioned satellites and space debris by re-entering and totally burning up in the Earth's atmosphere. The team continues to analyze the orbital data to determine how future satellites can use this new technology."
Istanbul, Turkey International Conference on Student Small Satellites (CSSS 2012)
"CSSS 2012 will be held in Istanbul, Turkey. The first goal of this conference is to provide a selective and interdisciplinary forum for research in Small Satellites Systems. The second goal is to provide a remarkable opportunity for the academic and industrial community to address new challenges and discuss future research directions in the area of small satellites. The third goal is to give the young participants a chance to meet experienced professors and experts from the industry."
"Mason Peck 's interest in chipsats, and an experiment called Sprite, might be even more radical. These satellites pack all the communication and navigation capabilities they need onto a chip the size of a dime; for fuel, they can simply ride on the wave of the solar wind, like a miniature solar sail. Right now, Peck has a few Sprites being tested on the space station, but he foresees all sorts of future uses: clusters of chipsats, stationed at the Earth-Sun Lagrangian point, for monitoring dangerous outbursts of Solar wind; a benign chipsat cloud surrounding larger spacecraft to serve as inspectors and sentries; or an armada of chipsats, sent plunging into the atmosphere of an outer planet, in order to return basic physics and chemistry data."
NASA Names Cornell Professor To CTO Position, Information Week
"At Cornell, Peck is the principal investigator on the CUSat in-orbit inspection technology demonstration, a pair of satellites the university has built that are scheduled to launch in 2013 on a Falcon 9 rocket through the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory's University Nanosatellite program."
"The Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge is to launch satellites with a mass of at least 2.2 pounds (1 kg) into Earth orbit, twice within the span of one week. The new challenge has a NASA-provided prize purse of $2 million. The objective of the competition is to encourage innovations in propulsion and other technologies, as well as operations and management relevant to safe, low-cost, small payload delivery system for frequent access to Earth orbit. Innovations stemming from this challenge will be beneficial to broader applications in future launch systems. They may enhance commercial capability for dedicated launches of small satellites at a cost comparable to secondary payload launches -- a potential new market with government, commercial, and academic customers."
DICE - Dynamic Ionosphere Cubesat Experiment: DICE will map geomagnetic Storm Enhanced Density (SED) plasma bulge and plume formations in Earth's ionosphere. Two identical spinning spacecraft will measure plasma density and electric fields to determine the how and why of variations in ionospheric plasma density that affect the performance of communications, surveillance, and navigation systems on earth and in space.
"The DICE satellites, known as "nanosatellites," are smaller than a toaster. They were put together by students at Utah State University and launched from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on a Delta rocket that also carried NASA's satellite, known as the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System."
"Two Utah State University completed Dynamic Ionosphere Cubesat Experiment (DICE) satellites have been delivered to the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, for final launch readiness. Cal Poly will place the two National Science Foundation funded miniature spacecraft in an ejection canister and verify that the assembly is ready for launch."
AubieSat-1: "AubieSat-1 is the first student built satellite in Alabama. It is a 1U CubeSat: 1000cm3 in volume and weighing 1.03-kg. It is entirely designed and built and tested by Auburn University undergraduate students, without using components off the shelf. It will study radio wave propagation through the ionosphere and test solar panel protective films. It is part of the ELaNa3 Mission."
Radio Aurora Explorer (RAX): "RAX is a joint venture between the University of Michigan and SRI International. Its primary mission objective is to study large plasma formations in the ionosphere, the highest region of our atmosphere. These plasma instabilities are known to spawn magnetic field-aligned irregularities (FAI), or dense plasma clouds known to disrupt communication between Earth and orbiting spacecraft." Twitter: @RAX_2010 Facebook RAX
Michigan Multipurpose Minisat (M-Cubed): "The objective of MCubed is to obtain a mid resolution image to date of Earth with at least 60% land mass and a maximum of 20% cloud coverage from a single cubesat platform. S3FL is also developing the MCubed bus with the intention of making it a heritage design, thus allowing for future missions to be flown on the same bus." Twitter: @UMCubed Tumblr: M-Cubed
M-CUBED and RAX Photos below
"Early Friday morning, shortly before 4 a.m. Mountain time, a student-built satellite called Explorer-1 [Prime] roared into the sky on a NASA rocket launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Almost two hours later, the satellite separated from the rocket and starting circling the Earth. Within three hours of launch, ham radio operators in France, England and The Netherlands had reported hearing from the satellite. ... Updates on Explorer-1 [Prime] are available on the Montana Space Grant Consortium Facebook page."
"A good photographer needs agility. So it is with ESA microsatellite Proba-1, which turns in space to capture terrestrial targets. Celebrating its tenth birthday this week, Proba-1's unique images are used by hundreds of scientific teams worldwide. A technology demonstrator turned into an Earth observation mission, the microsatellite - just a cubic metre in volume - has acquired nearly 20, 000 environmental science images with its main Compact High Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (CHRIS), used by a total of 446 research groups in 60 countries."
"The twin of a Montana State University student-built satellite that was launched in the spring but failed to reach orbit as a result of an anomaly with the TAURUS-XL rocket is scheduled to be launched Friday, Oct. 28, on another NASA rocket. This miniature research satellite - also called Explorer-1 [Prime] in honor of the first successful U.S. satellite - is set to launch between 3:48 and 3:57 a.m. Mountain time on a Delta II rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Maria, Calif. MSU students and faculty members plan to watch from the Air Force base, as well as from MSU's Space Operations Center in Cobleigh Hall, said Dave Klumpar, director of MSU's Space Science and Engineering Laboratory."
"Space technology experts from Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) and the Surrey Space Centre (SSC) have announced the four lucky winners of the 'Space App Competition' who will see their Android Applications run on smartphone-powered satellite STRaND-1, due for launch into space next year. Applying through a competition held on Facebook, the four winners were chosen for their app's scientific benefits, their creativity, or the app's ability to get young people enthusiastic about science and technology."
KickSat -- Your personal spacecraft in space!, Kickstarter
"My goal is to bring down the huge cost of spaceflight, allowing anyone from a curious high school student or basement tinkerer to a professional scientist to explore what has until now been the exclusive realm of governments and large companies. By shrinking the spacecraft, we can fit more into a single launch slot and split the costs many ways. I want to make it easy enough and affordable enough for anyone to explore space."
"The International Space Station Utilization Office currently has 2U Mission of opportunity payload capacity available on the EcAMSat launch mission planned for Summer of 2012. This launch opportunity will be open to all Ames individuals or groups with technology that meets the interface requirements as described in the attached file and will be ready for integration by the project March 21, 2012, CDR date."
"The first high resolution satellite imagery is today released from NigeriaSat-2, as engineers from the Nigerian space agency (NASRDA) and the satellite's manufacturer Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) continue in the successful commissioning of the new satellite from NASRDA's headquarters in Abuja. Testing of all the systems on-board the satellite has been successfully completed, and calibration of the imaging payloads is ongoing with outstanding results already being produced."
Exploring Space with Chip-sized Satellites, IEEE SPectrum
"Gravity may be woven into the very fabric of space-time, but some objects seem nearly immune to its pull. Scale something down to the size of a dust particle and you'll find it can stay aloft almost indefinitely, dancing in midair on thermal currents. With matter that size, the force of air striking the surface of the particle outmatches gravity's effect on its tiny mass. This behavior is more than just a curiosity: It could have profound implications for space exploration. Spacecraft have been getting bigger and bigger for decades, ballooning in size to carry ever more impressive equipment, from the Herschel Space Observatory's 3.5-meter telescope to the Cassini probe's 11-meter magnetometer boom. But if we can reverse that trend and instead build the tiniest spacecraft possible, we can create entirely new ways to study the solar system and beyond."
Drexel University's experiment, Characterizing the Performance of the CubeSat Deployable Boom in Microgravity has been selected to participate in NASA's 2011 Grant Us Space Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program. This flight will take place in Houston. The flight week the team participated in was July 7-16, 2011.
"The N-Prize has been described as 'the world's smallest space programme'. Launched in 2008, the N-Prize sets the near-impossible challenge of launching and tracking a tiny orbital satellite on a shoestring budget. "It's NASA for nuts," says its founder Dr. Paul H. Dear from Cambridge University. The N-Prize is meant to do for spaceflight what Steve Wozniak did for home computers when he built the first Apple in his garage. Enthusiasts around the world are about to prove that spaceflight doesn't have to be rocket-science, and that you don't need a billion dollar budget to launch a satellite, if only a tiny one."
UK Smartphone CubeSat STRaND-1, AMSAT-UK
"STRaND-1 will carry an Android Smartphone and plans to use data rates of 9k6 or 19k2 bps for the AX.25 packet radio downlink. A software-based speech synthesiser will be included to pay homage to the UOSAT family of satellites. The 3U CubeSat measures 30 by 10 by 10 cm and weighs 4 kg. Unlike previous CubeSats it will feature full 3-axis control with the attitude an orbit control system comprising a nano-magnetorquer, nano-reaction wheels, GPS receiver, 8 pulse plasma thrusters and a butane thruster. STRaND stands for Surrey Training, Research and Nanosatellite Demonstration and the programme is intended to be a long-term arrangement between the space company SSTL and academic researchers at the Surrey Space Centre (SSC), with STRaND-1 the first of a long line of STRaND nanosatellites. The SSTL employees involved with the STRaND programme are volunteers. It is a condition of the programme that volunteers from SSTL and SSC use their own, free time for STRaND activities (such as lunches and breaks). The project has no budget for staff so is entirely dependant on volunteers."
See Smartphone Satellite, OnOrbit.com
NigeriaSat-X was built by engineers from Nigeria's National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) under the supervision of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL). The new generation of Nigerian scientists and engineers trained up under the NigeriaSat-X project will continue to support Nigeria's space programme, ensuring its continued success and sustainability. In total, 26 Nigerian engineers were located at SSTL's facilities in Guildford for 18 months throughout the design and test phases. More
Kris Kimmel of Kentucky Space is organizing the first hackerSPACE Workshop, which provides an opportunity for makers learn about building spacecraft from space professionals and engineers. The focus of the workshop is on the CubeSat satellite platform. The workshop is November 11-12 in Lexington, Kentucky. The workshop will be led by Bob Twiggs, Emeritus professor and former director of the Space Systems Development Lab at Stanford University, now professor at Morehead State University and also with Kentucky Space. Bob is credited with inventing the CubeSat spacecraft, which is now helping to revolutionize space, putting it within reach of more people than ever. More
NASA is seeking proposals for small satellite payloads to fly on rockets planned to launch between 2012 and 2014. These miniature spacecraft, known as CubeSats, could be auxiliary payload on previously planned missions. CubeSats are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The cube-shaped satellites are approximately four inches long, have a volume of about one quart and weigh less than three pounds.
NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) is hereby soliciting information about potential sources for the design, assembly, test and manufacture of pico- or nanosatellites. Vendors having the capabilities necessary to meet or exceed the stated requirements are invited to submit appropriate documentation, literature, brochures, and references. More
The NASA Launch Services Program (LSP) is seeking a high altitude launch service for demonstration Nano-Satellites. This contract will consist of a single launch with potential extension at the Government's discretion to up to four additional launches. LSP requires a launch service provider with proven flight experience and a rocket capable of both launch and safe return of Nano-Satellite payloads in order to collect/analyze NASA experimental data. The solicitation is under NAICS 541712 c for Space Vehicles and Guided Missiles, their Propulsion Units, their Propulsion Units Parts, and their Auxiliary Equipment and Parts. More
NASA is currently preparing for upcoming CubeSat Launch Initiative announcements. As part of CubeSat Launch Initiative, NASA will seek for CubeSat payloads that address an aspect of science, exploration, technology development, education, or operations encompassed by NASA's strategic goals and outcomes, which are identified in the NASA Strategic Plan and Education Strategic Coordination Framework. NASA anticipates using its authority to enter into a collaborative Agreement to support the 2011 CubeSat Launch Initiative. Under the Agreement, NASA would provide integration and other services needed to complete the launch activity. For information about last year's initiative please refer to the 2010 announcement seeking participants for its pilot program. For FY2012, NASA is expanding the available CubeSat positions available to proposers. NASA will accept proposals for 1, 2, 3 or 6U satellites. More
NASA Centennial Challenge to deliver two small satellites to Earth orbit in one week
From: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Category: Science & Technology
Objectives: 1) Safe, low-cost, small payload delivery system for frequent access to Earth orbit. 2) Innovations in propulsion and other technologies as well as operations and management for broader applications in future launch systems. 3) A commercial capability for dedicated launches of small satellites at a cost comparable to secondary payload launches -a potential new market with Government, commercial, and academic customers.
Deliver a payload with a mass of at least 1 kilogram and dimensions of at least 10x10x11 centimeters to Earth orbit, complete at least one orbit past the launch site and deliver payloads successfully at least two times in one week. The detailed rules and competition plans will be determined in the coming months, probably by early spring 2011. The competition is expected to begin in 2011. More information at www.nasa.gov/challenges
Submission Period: Start: Sep 01, 2011
More info at Challenge.gov
F-104 jet fighters just like the ones astronauts trained in for decades will become a more regular part of the skyscape above NASA's Kennedy Space Center as a private company expands its fleet of jets with plans to conduct more research flights, launch very small satellites into space and even take paying passengers into the stratosphere. The developments come four years after the company made its first flight from the Shuttle Landing Facility, or SLF, at Kennedy in April 2007.
ROSES-11 Amendment 9: New proposal opportunities for Earth and space science experiments using short duration orbital platforms including CubeSats.
Short duration orbital platforms, such as CubeSats, may offer new capabilities for the conduct of NASA scientific research, education, and technology advancement. NASA has commenced a CubeSat Launch Initiative and begun regularly providing launch opportunities for CubeSats as secondary payloads on NASA launch vehicles.
"Three prototype Cornell-developed, fingernail-sized satellites -- collecting the solar wind's chemistry, radiation and particle-impact data -- will be mounted on the International Space Station after the space shuttle Endeavour delivers them on its final flight, which is scheduled to launch at 3:47 p.m. EDT on Friday, April 29. The thin, 1-inch-square chips, named "Sprite," in development for three years in the lab of Mason Peck, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, will be mounted to the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE-8) pallet. The pallet will be attached to the space station, exposing the chips to the harsh conditions of space to see how they hold up and transmit data." More
Singapore's first indigenous micro-satellite, X-SAT, lifted off on board India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C16 at 10.12am Indian Standard Time (12.42pm, Singapore time) on 20 April 2011. The X-SAT, developed and built by Singapore's Nanyang Technological University (NTU), in collaboration with DSO National Laboratories, was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, India. The wholly made-in-Singapore satellite was one of the two "piggyback" mission satellites loaded on the PSLV-C16 rocket owned by the Indian Space Research Organisation. The PSLV-C16 successfully inserted the X-SAT into its planned orbit around the Earth.
Two satellites designed and constructed by students at the Cockrell School of Engineering successfully separated in space March 22, completing the most crucial goal of the mission since its Nov. 19 launch and making them the first student-developed mission in the world in which satellites orbit and communicate with each other in real-time.
"Through this Opportunity Notice NASA seeks to select an Allied Organization for the Nano-Satellite Launcher prize competition to be conducted under the Centennial Challenges Program of NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. NASA provides the monetary prize purse (which can be supplemented by outside organizations) but no funding for the conduct of the competition itself. Allied Organizations must administer the Challenges with their own funding or they must acquire the funding needed to administer the Challenges through agreements with sponsoring organizations or through other means. Sponsoring organizations are those entities that team with an Allied Organization to augment the prize purse, provide funding for administrative expenses and/or provide in-kind support through separate agreements with the Allied Organization."
NASA IPP Solicitation: Opportunity Notice for Potential Centennial Challenges Sponsors
"Through this Opportunity Notice (NOTICE), NASA seeks to identify potential Sponsoring Organizations who may be interested in partnering with Allied Organizations to support prize competitions conducted under Centennial Challenges program (http://www.nasa.gov/challenges ) of NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C."
"Are smartphones so smart they can operate a spacecraft? NASA wants to find out. The space agency has for months been conducting tests to see if smartphones can survive by literally sending them to the edge of space. NASA last week conducted the most recent of these tests, sending an Android phone up nearly 100,000 feet on a balloon. Last August, it was a Google Nexus One phone on a rocket. "The cell phone industry has invested billions of dollars in these phones. They've packed a lot of capability into a really small volume," said Chris Boshuizen, a senior systems engineer at Logyx, a California-based technology firm. The power of today's smartphones rival those of many desktops and even exceed that of many satellites, said Boshuizen, which allows them to cheaply transmit photos and data. Phones running the Google Android OS have gigahertz processors, half a gigabyte of RAM, and accelerometers and magnetometers to measure gravity and direction." More at Fox News.
NASA has selected 20 small satellites to fly as auxiliary cargo aboard rockets planned to launch in 2011 and 2012. The proposed CubeSats come from a high school in Virginia, universities across the country, NASA field centers and Department of Defense organizations. CubeSats are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The cube-shaped satellites are approximately four inches long, have a volume of about one quart and weigh 2.2 pounds or less.
RSC Energia: "In the scope of operations for prelaunch processing of cargo transport vehicle (CTV) Progress M-09M under the International Space Station program small spacecraft - satellite Kedr was accommodated in the vehicle cargo compartment on January 18. The satellite is designed to carry out space experiment RadioSkaf: development, preparation and launch of supersmall spacecraft during extravehicular activity (EVA). The experiment investigator is S.P. Korolev RSC Energia. The launch of CTV Progress M-09M is scheduled to be performed on January 28 at 04:31 Moscow Time."
Space researchers at the University of Surrey and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) have developed 'STRaND-1', a satellite containing a smartphone payload that will be launched into orbit around the Earth later this year. STRaND-1 (Surrey Training, Research and Nanosatellite Demonstrator) is being developed by the Surrey team to demonstrate the advanced capabilities of a satellite built quickly using advanced commercial off-the-shelf components.
Friday, Jan. 21 at 10 a.m. EST, engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., confirmed that the NanoSail-D nanosatellite deployed its 100-square-foot polymer sail in low-Earth orbit and is operating as planned. Actual deployment occurred on Jan. 20 at 10 p.m. EST and was confirmed today with beacon packets data received from NanoSail-D and additional ground-based satellite tracking assets. In addition, the NanoSail-D orbital parameter data set shows an appropriate change which is consistent with sail deployment.
Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 11:30 a.m. EST, engineers at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., confirmed that the NanoSail-D nanosatellite ejected from Fast Affordable Scientific and Technology Satellite, FASTSAT. The ejection event occurred spontaneously and was identified this morning when engineers at the center analyzed onboard FASTSAT telemetry. The ejection of NanoSail-D also has been confirmed by ground-based satellite tracking assets.
Amateur ham operators are asked to listen for the signal to verify NanoSail-D is operating. This information should be sent to the NanoSail-D dashboard at: http://nanosaild.engr.scu.edu/dashboard.htm. The NanoSail-D beacon signal can be found at 437.270 MHz.
"Ever since sputnik kicked off the age of space satellites more than fifty years ago, big institutions have dominated the skies. Almost all the many thousands of satellites that have taken their place in Earth orbit were the result of huge projects funded by governments and corporations. For decades each generation of satellites has been more complicated and expensive than its predecessor, taken longer to design, and required an infrastructure of expensive launch facilities, global monitoring stations, mission specialists and research centers." More at Scientific American (via Kentucky Space)
Spaceflight Services (Spaceflight) and Innovative Space Logistics BV (ISILaunch) announced today that they have teamed to create a global spaceflight services provider for small and secondary payloads. Spaceflight and ISILaunch currently offer spaceflight services on a variety of orbital and suborbital vehicles for small and secondary payloads, with operations centered in the United States (US) and Europe respectively. Under this joint marketing agreement Spaceflight and ISILaunch will provide a global spaceflight service for the launch of small and secondary payloads by jointly marketing a combined set of products and services to prospective customers.
"The Saratoga transfer protocol was developed by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) for its Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC) satellites. In over seven years of operation, Saratoga has provided efficient delivery of remote-sensing Earth observation imagery, across private wireless links, from these seven low-orbit satellites to ground stations, using the Internet Protocol (IP). Saratoga is designed to cope with high bandwidth-delay products, constrained acknowledgement channels, and high loss while streaming or delivering extremely large files. An implementation of this protocol has now been developed at the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) for wider use and testing. This is intended to prototype delivery of data across dedicated astronomy radio telescope networks on the ground, where networked sensors in Very Long Baseline Interferometer (VLBI) instruments generate large amounts of data for processing and can send that data across private IP- and Ethernet-based links at very high rates. We describe this new Saratoga implementation, its features and focus on high throughput and link utilization, and lessons learned in developing this protocol for sensor-network applications." More
- YouTube: Aerobrake first prototype for CubeSats.
- Vietnam CubeSat to launch in 2011, Southgate Amateur Radio Club
- F1 cubesat - Vietnam, Bird on a Wireless
- UK Space Agency kicks off CubeSat pilot programme, wired.gov
- A deployable aerobrake for CubeSat deorbit, University of Glasgow
- Concordia in Space, The Link
- BTH CubeSat , Blekinge Institute of Technology
- DoD Space Test Program-S26 (STP-S26) Mission, USAF Space Command
- SRI International Launches CubeSat for Space Weather and Atmospheric Research, SRI
- Stanford students fly in zero gravity to protect satellites from tiny meteoroids, Satnford
- Merritt Island High to Build CubeSat, University of Central Florida
- CubeSat Canopy Experiment: Dealing with Interplanetary Flyspecks, Coalition for Space Exploration
- FUNcube Yahoo Group reaches 100, Southgate Amateur Radio Club
- CubeSat Toolbox Module Subsets and their API pages, Princeton Satellite Systems
- Pre-made CubeSats, Science 2.0
- CubeSat for the UK: UKube1 seeks payloads, Astronomy & Geophysics
- Variable Pricing for a NanoSat Launcher, Space Business Blog
- 3-Unit CubeSat Deployer, CubeSatShop.com
- NASA Solar Sail Satellite May Not Have Ejected from Mothership After All , Space.com
- Space tethers, USNA
- Help needed with educational outreach (FUNcube), HamChatForum
- NRL Launches Nano-Satellite Experimental Platforms, NRL
- NPS Crushes CubeSats for DARPA Challenge, Naval Postgraduate School
- Vermont Lunar CubeSat Project, VT Space Grant Consortium/ NASA EPSCoR
- Earthlike planet detection with combination of satellite missions from MIT
- CubeSat Challenge Workshop, UK Space Agency
NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) Small Spacecraft Division has a requirement for mission operations and ground support services and associated research and development of technologies and processes critical to support flight missions. This requirement includes development of documentation such as Mission Operations Plan and Procedures, Test and Verification Reports, Space to Ground Segment Interface Control Documents, and Mission Review presentations, support to project development and management, and advanced payload and aerospace technology development. The anticipated period of performance is approximately 21 months (through September 15, 2012).
At this time, it is not clear that NanoSail-D ejected from the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite (FASTSAT) as originally stated on Monday, Dec. 6. At the time of ejection, spacecraft telemetry data showed a positive ejection as reflected by confirmation of several of the planned on orbit ejection sequence events. The FASTSAT spacecraft ejection system data was also indicative of an ejection event. NanoSail-D was scheduled to unfurl on Dec. 9 at 12:30 a.m., and deployment hasn't been confirmed. The FASTSAT team is continuing to trouble shoot the inability to make contact with NanoSail-D. The FASTSAT microsatellite and all remaining five onboard experiments continue to operate as planned.
The first U.S. Army nanosatellite lifted off of Launch Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral, Fla., today at 10:43 a.m. Eastern. This is the launch of the first U.S. Army-built satellite in more than 50 years. U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command is the Army lead for the SMDC-ONE nanosatellite program.
The Space and Missile Defense Command - Operational Nanosatellite Effect, or SMDC-ONE, launched on a Falcon 9 two-stage booster, a Space Exploration Technologies, Inc, or SpaceX, launch vehicle as a secondary payload. The primary payload for this flight is the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.
On Dec. 6 at 1:31 a.m. EST, NASA for the first time successfully ejected a nanosatellite from a free-flying microsatellite. NanoSail-D ejected from the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite, FASTSAT, demonstrating the capability to deploy a small cubesat payload from an autonomous microsatellite in space.
Nanosatellites or cubesats are typically launched and deployed from a mechanism called a Poly-PicoSatellite Orbital Deployer (P-POD) mounted directly on a launch vehicle. This is the first time NASA has mounted a P-POD on a microsatellite to eject a cubesat.
NASA's Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite, or FASTSAT, launched at 7:25 p.m. CST Friday aboard a Minotaur IV rocket from Kodiak Launch Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska. FASTSAT is a unique platform that can carry multiple small payloads to low-Earth orbit creating opportunities for researchers to conduct low-cost scientific and technology research on an autonomous satellite in space.
NASA is preparing to fly a small satellite about the size of a loaf of bread that could help answer astrobiologys fundamental questions about the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the universe. The nanosatellite, known as Organism/Organic Exposure to Orbital Stresses, or O/OREOS, is a secondary payload aboard a U.S. Air Force four-stage Minotaur IV rocket planned for launch on Nov. 19, 2010.
Turning Retired Military Jets into Next-Gen Nano-Satellite Launchers, Popular Science
"The idea is to make space launches affordable to commercial and academic ventures that can't afford the high costs associated with piggybacking on a NASA mission or launching a single-use rocket. With small satellites constructed by universities or other institutions expected to increase dramatically over the next decade, the need exists for a service that can get them into space for less than $10,000 (the average cost associated with building and launching a CubeSat has ranged from $50,000 to $150,000 in the past)."
Nanosatellites Take Off, Forbes
"The average American consumer might not yet realize the purpose of launching his own personal box of silicon and aluminum into space, admits Andrew Kalman. In fact, Kalman isn't quite sure of it himself. Then again, the 46-year-old Stanford professor points out, a few decades ago no one quite saw the point of putting a box of chips and software--the personal computer--into American homes. Since Kalman's firm, Pumpkin Inc., entered the satellite business ten years ago, the four-person San Francisco company has become the world's top supplier of "CubeSat" kits--collections of components for building 2-pound, 4-inch-tall Rubik's cubes of hardware ready to be launched into Earth's orbit. Those $7,500 packages have made Kalman the closest thing the space industry has to a Henry Ford as he works to put a pint-size unmanned spacecraft in every garage in America."
- Air Force's STP-S26 Mission Loaded with New Technologies, Space News
- UK Space Agency kicks off CubeSat pilot programme, UK Space Agency
- Nanosail-D, solar sailing cubesat, set to fly, Kentucky Space
- Aalto-1, the Finnish student satellite, Southgate Amateur Radio Club
- Inside next week's launch from Narrow Cape, Kodiak Daily Mirror
- This month in CubeSats, Make
- Recycled Military Jets Serve as Satellite Launchers, Space.com
- Turning Retired Military Jets into Next-Gen Nano-Satellite Launchers, Popular Science
- Students Build Finland's First Satellite, Uutiset
- Turning Retired Military Jets into Next-Gen Nano-Satellite Launchers, Popular Science
- Nanosatellites Take Off, Forbes
Team Phoenicia and TechShop, are going to host a Nanosatellite Launcher Challenge Seminar on November 6th, 2010 at TechShop, Menlo Park at 1 PM. Organizations that will be presenting include NASA Centennial Challenge Program, FAA, New Mexico Spaceport Authority, Team Phoenicia, Friends of Amateur Rocketry, and some of the SF Bay Area teams. The draft rules for the Challenge are planned to be presented and feedback is expected. The scope of this seminar is to promote the challenge in the the SF Bay Area, explore how the different organizations, including Team Phoenicia, can help teams, and will be a working session. While the seminar is open to the public, registration is advised.
1:00 PM to 8:00 PM
TechShop Menlo Park
NASA will hold a media teleconference at 10:30 a.m. PST on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010 to discuss the Organism/Organic Exposure to Orbital Stresses, O/OREOS and Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite, or FASTSAT -- scheduled to launch Nov. 19, 2010 on a Minotaur IV launch vehicle from the Alaska Aerospace Corporations Kodiak Launch Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska.
The goal of the O/OREOS mission is to demonstrate the capability to conduct low-cost astrobiology science experiments on autonomous nanosatellites in space. Scientists will apply the knowledge they gain from O/OREOS to plan future experiments in the space environment to study how exposure to space changes organic molecules and biology. These experiments will help answer astrobiologys fundamental questions about the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the universe.
- A modular assembly method of a feed and thruster system for Cubesats, IOPScience
- CubeSat Workshop and IAA Conference in Rome, Southgate Amateur Radio Club
- NASA awards Poly with contract to build satellites, Mustang Daily
- Moon team to test 2U CubeSat in March, Kentucky Space
- AubieSat–1 goes to infinity and beyond, Auburn Plainsman
- UAF to Launch Satellite Into Final Frontier, Sun Star
- Mini-Satellites: Ideal for Teaching and Research, Credit Suisse
- CU students help Lockheed Martin create satellite, SatPRNews
- Quicklaunch, Cubesats and Open Source Satellite Initiative, Next Big Future
- CU students help Lockheed Martin create satellite, Denver Post
- Students help shrink satellite to football size, Internatinal Business Times
- Firefly Satellite to study lightning, ScienceNews
- ESA offers additional educational CubeSat opportunities, ESA
- Small-scale satellite presents a big challenge, University of ALberta
- CubeSat Lunar Lander/Orbiter Project, Vermont Technical College
- 1st IAA Conference on University Satellite Missions, cubesat.org
- ITUpSAT1 first year in orbit celebration, Southgate Amateur Radio Club
- Student-Built Satellite Scheduled for Launch, University of Michigan
- Florida CubeSat Program, NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium
NASA has announced the award of the Poly Picosatellite Orbital Deployers, or P-POD, service contract to California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calif. This new contract is an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity award for five years with a maximum cumulative potential value of $5 million. The award will provide a broad range of P-POD services for NASA's CubeSat program.
CubeSats are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The cube-shaped satellites are approximately four inches long, have a volume of about one quart and weigh less than 2.2 pounds.
"To help speed up the CubeSat design process, Clyde Space have published their full User Manuals online."
Small could be the next big thing in satellite tech, Hindu Business Line
"It happened with our desktop computers shrinking into laptops and palm-sized gadgets and our mobile phones getting tinier. In the satellite industry too, 'small' could be the next big thing in the coming years. A small satellite can equally suit communications, earth observation or surveillance, disaster monitoring or scientific experiments -- the jobs that its bigger cousins do. It would weigh a few hundred kilos versus the 2-to-10-tonne giants that circle the earth today. 'Smallsats' cost less, weigh less, can be built fast and launched quickly in multiples and pack in just as much punch, according to Mr D.V.A. Raghav Murthy, ISRO's Project Director for Small Satellites."
Small satellites fire up colleges, The Hindu
"Bangalore: Buoyed by space projects taken up in universities abroad and by the success of Indian student satellite StudSat, a bevy of colleges have approached ISRO to help them create miniature satellites. B.Tech. students from around 25 universities across the country have approached the space agency for technical guidance to develop small satellites, and to provide them a free launch-pad, said Project Director of Small Satellites, ISRO, Raghav Murthy in his presentation at the Bengaluru Space Expo 2010 on Thursday."
"Three Clyde Space CubeSat Electrical Power Systems (EPS) [a 1U EPS, 3U EPS and an XUEPS], were qualified to NASA GEVS vibration and shock levels to verify the manufacturing procedures we use for these products. Also included in the test were a 3U Battery and Battery daughter board."
Colorado Space Grant Consortium, Lockheed Martin To Develop CubeSat, Lockheed Martin
"Students from the Colorado Space Grant Consortium (COSGC) have teamed with Lockheed Martin [NYSE:LMT] to develop a miniature satellite, known as ALL-STAR, which stands for Agile Low-cost Laboratory for Space Technology Acceleration and Research. The ALL-STAR program, designed to inspire and develop America's future technological workforce, will provide students hands on experience in applying science, technology, engineering and math skills to building operational space systems. Lockheed Martin funded the program and company engineers from Sunnyvale, Calif., Palo Alto, Calif., Newtown, Pa., Albuquerque, N.M., and Denver are supplying their system engineering, program management and systems integration expertise to mentor the COSGC students as they design, develop, manufacture and deliver the CubeSat."
CubeSat Propulsion, SouthGate Amateur Radio Club
"Two videos on YouTube video show the concept for a CubeSat propulsion system using plasma electrolysis of water. This prototype shows that thrust can be produced by plasma electrolysis - it burns water, so to speak. The system has to be optimized to avoid "unburned" droplets. In this early prototype the water injection is triggered manually by short pumping bursts of an electric membrane pump. The next version will be designed to have an active burn control and the ability to operate with low voltage (high amps)."
How to make affordable solar pannels for CubeSat pico-satellites?, Northern Arizona Wind & Sun
"I am currently working on a CubeSat 10x10x10 cm cubical satellite whose total mass must not exceed 1 kg. I mention that this is a school project and it is unlikely the satellite will actually go in orbit. Most probable, once finished, the cubesat will remain in the lab."
Teams to Design Software for Small Satellites on the International Space Station
WASHINGTON -- NASA is challenging high school teams to design software to program small satellites aboard the International Space Station. The competition centers on the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES.
SPHERES are bowling ball-sized spherical satellites used to test maneuvers for spacecraft performing autonomous rendezvous and docking. Three of these satellites fly inside the station's cabin. Each is self-contained with power, propulsion, computing and navigation equipment.
The Zero-Robotics investigation, run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., is designed to inspire future scientists and engineers. The teams are asked to address challenges of satellite docking, assembly and flight formation. The 2010 Zero-Robotics Challenge expands on a limited pilot program performed in fall 2009. This expanded pilot, called HelioSPHERES, will involve high schools from across the country during the 2010 - 2011 academic year. This new education program builds critical engineering skills for students, such as problem solving, design thought process, operations training, teamwork and presentation skills.
NASA's Ames Research Center and Mavericks Civilian Space Foundation, Moffett Field, Calif., today announced a collaboration to develop a high-altitude high-velocity air sampling system for NASA biological experiments.
Under the terms of a Space Act Agreement, Mavericks, in collaboration with NASA scientists, will develop and operate airborne science platforms to carry biological sampling devices and retrieve organisms, such as microbes, algal spores, viruses, and fungi, and other evidence of life from lower atmosphere to the upper atmosphere, or more than 78 miles above the surface of Earth. Mavericks will provide payload launch capabilities, instrumentation on sounding rockets and research balloons, and facilitate NASA flights on other space vehicles.
NASA's chief technologist seeks to develop transformative programs, SJ Mercury News
"Ames has specialized in recent years in building closer ties with technology companies such as Google and Microsoft, and Braun said his office is exploring whether NASA can adapt another aspect of Silicon Valley, perhaps working with venture capitalists to develop some of those high-risk, high-reward technologies. "Venture capitalists, angel investors, they know how to take risks, and there is a lot that we can learn from them, and there is a lot that we can leverage," he said. Braun also said that NASA's future may not be about building bigger, more powerful rockets, but about building tiny satellites with the flexibility to accomplish a wide variety of missions in space -- somewhat like the 10-cubic centimeter "Cubesats" that were originally developed at Stanford and other universities."
NASA has announced a second opportunity for small satellite payloads to fly on rockets planned to launch in 2011 and 2012. These CubeSats could be auxiliary cargo on previously planned missions.
CubeSats are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The cube-shaped satellites are approximately four inches long, have a volume of about one quart and weigh less than 2.2 pounds.
CubeSat investigations should be consistent with NASA's Strategic Plan or the Education Strategic Coordination Framework. The research should address aspects of science, exploration, technology development, education or operations.
Applicants must submit proposals electronically by 4:30 p.m. EST, Nov. 15. NASA will select the payloads by Jan. 31, 2011, but selection does not guarantee a launch opportunity. Collaborators may be required to provide partial reimbursement of approximately $30,000 per CubeSat. NASA will not provide funding for the development of the small satellites.
NASA recently announced the results from the first round of the CubeSat Launch Initiative. Twelve payloads have made the short-list for launch opportunities in 2011 and 2012. They are eligible for launch pending an appropriate opportunity and final negotiations. The satellites come from 10 states: Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Utah and Vermont.
For additional information on NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative program, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/directorates/somd/home/CubeSats_initiative.html
For more information on NASA's Strategic Plan, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/budget
For more information on NASA's Education Strategic Coordination Framework, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/performance/strategic_framework.html
"The hexadecagon-shaped personal satellite, called TubeSat, weighs about 1.65 pounds and is a little larger than a rectangular Kleenex box. TubeSats will be placed in self-decaying orbits 192 miles above the earth's surface. Once deployed, they can put out enough power to be picked up on the ground by a hand-held amateur radio receiver. After operating for a few months, TubeSat will re-enter the atmosphere and burn up. "It is a pico satellite that can be a very low-cost space-based platform for experimentation or equipment testing," says Randa Milliron, CEO and founder of Interorbital Systems. About 20 kits have been sold and 14 more are in the process of being handed over to customers, says Milliron."
University students and professors from across the country and Puerto Rico will converge on NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia this month to learn how to build small experiments that can be launched on sounding rockets. This is part of a week-long workshop, known as RockOn!, that begins June 19.
The 80 workshop participants will build standardized experiments that will fly on a NASA Terrier-Orion suborbital sounding rocket set to launch between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. EDT on June 24. The 35-foot-tall rocket is expected to fly to an altitude of 75 miles. After launch and payload recovery, the participants will conduct preliminary data analysis and discuss their results.
In addition to the 7 workshop-built experiments, 11 custom-built, self-contained experiments also will fly on the rocket inside a payload canister known as RockSat. The latter experiments were developed at ten universities that previously had participated in a RockOn! workshop.
WALLOPS ISLAND, Va., -- Not much bigger than a child's toy block, two spacecraft designed and built by university students in Kentucky and California will fly in space for a short period this month to gather information that may be applied to future small Earth orbiting space vehicles.
The spacecraft will fly on a NASA suborbital Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket between 6 and 9 a.m.(EST), March 11, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The backup launch days are March 12 and 13.
NASA is announcing a new initiative to launch small cube-shaped satellites for education and not-for-profit organizations. CubeSats are a class of research spacecraft called picosatellites, having a size of approximately four inches, a volume of about one quart, and weighing no more than 2.2 pounds.
This is NASA's first open announcement to create an agency-prioritized list of available CubeSats. They are planned as auxiliary payloads on launch vehicles already planned for 2011 and 2012.
"We're anticipating some exciting proposals for this pilot program with hopes to break down the barriers to the launching of CubeSats," said Jason Crusan, chief technologist for NASA's Space Operations Mission Directorate in Washington. "There are organizations that have been waiting a long time for a chance to see their satellites fly in space."
Proposed CubeSat payloads must be the result of development efforts conducted under existing NASA-supported activities. Investigations proposed for this pilot project must address an aspect of science, exploration, technology development, education or operations encompassed by NASA's strategic goals and outcomes as identified in the NASA Strategic Plan and/or NASA's Education Strategic Coordination Framework.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Operations Mission Directorate (SOMD) anticipates that launch opportunities for a limited number of CubeSats may be available on launches currently planned for 2011 and 2012. These launch opportunities would constitute a pilot project intended to demonstrate viable launch opportunities for CubeSat payloads as auxiliary payloads on planned missions. The pilot project is intended to support, and will be limited to, CubeSat development efforts conducted under existing NASA-supported activities. The pilot project will be open to not-for-profit and educational organizations ("collaborators").
Full solicitation below
Blue Origin has selected three unmanned research payloads to fly on the New Shepard suborbital vehicle as a part of Phase 1 of the New Shepard Research Flight Demonstration Program. These payloads were selected from an excellent field of submitted proposals.
The three investigations selected are:
* Three-Dimensional Critical Wetting Experiment in Microgravity. The principal investigator of this effort is Dr. Stephen Collicott, of Purdue University.
* Microgravity Experiment on Dust Environments in Astrophysics (MEDEA). The principal investigator of this effort is Dr. Joshua Colwell, of the University of Central Florida.
* Effective lnterfacial Tension lnduced Convection (EITIC). The principal investigator of this effort is Dr. John Pojman, of Louisiana State University.
These flights are planned to begin in the coming years to demonstrate the integration and operation of scientific experiments into the New Shepard system.
More information on Blue Origin, the New Shepard program, and its research and education applications can be found at www.blueorigin.com. Further inquiries should be directed to Dr. Alan Stern, Blue Origin's advisor for Research and Education Mission applications: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information at http://www.blueorigin.com/nsresearch.html
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