NASA Selects Candidates For CubeSat Space Missions (Photo Credit: NASA)
Recently, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that it has selected 18 small research satellites from 11 states to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard rockets launching in 2021, 2022 and 2023. It is to be noted that the selected CubeSats were proposed by educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and NASA centres in response to NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) call for proposals issued in August 2019.
“CSLI is an amazing opportunity that provides tremendous value to NASA and the universities and organizations that design and develop CubeSat missions. It’s the perfect win-win,” said Sam Fonder, program executive, Launch Services Program.
“Developers get a chance to build and test small spacecraft for research in space. NASA can use this research to assist in accomplishing its mission objectives,” he added.
It is worth mentioning here that so far, 192 CubeSat missions from 41 states and Puerto Rico have been selected, and over 100 CubeSats have launched into space through ELaNa mission rideshare opportunities.
CubeSats are a type of small spacecraft. In their smallest form, they measure about four inches on each side, weigh less than three pounds, and have an approximate volume of one quart. CubeSats are built using these standard dimensions or Units (U) and are typically classified as 1U, 2U, 3U, 6U, or 12U in total size. Each selected CubeSat proposal was required to address aspects of the agency’s science, technology development, or education goals.
Launch opportunities for the selectees will be provided through the Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) missions facilitated by NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP). Selectees will hitch a ride with planned spaceflight missions led by NASA, other U.S. government agencies, or commercial organizations. After launch, the CubeSats will deploy into orbit from either the launch vehicle or the International Space Station.