CubeSats Get Close: Proximity Operation with Interesting Implications

AeroCube-10A (which is only 10 x 10 x 15 cm itself) photographed from 26 meters away. (Credit: Aerospace Corporation)

One of Aerospace’s CubeSats photographed its twin satellite from 22 meters away in a demonstration of the type of technology that could enable inspection and servicing missions.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (Aerospace Corporation PR) — With some technical panache, one of The Aerospace Corporation’s CubeSats maneuvered itself within 22 meters of its sibling CubeSat and snapped a series of photos while orbiting at 17,000 miles per hour. 

This incredibly difficult technology demonstration, performed by a satellite the size of a tissue box, paves the way for future inspection or servicing missions. 

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Innovative AeroCube-10 CubeSats Deployed From Cygnus

AeroCube-10 being tested in the large area solar simulator in El Segundo, Calif. (Credit: Aerospace Corporation)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (Aerospace Corporation PR) — The AeroCube-10 dual CubeSat mission, packed with space experiments and technology demonstrations, was launched into orbit from the Cygnus automated cargo spacecraft after its recent departure from the International Space Station.

Possibly the most intriguing experiment aboard the Aerospace-funded spacecrafts was designed in-house at Aerospace and consists of hardware for a never-before-done mission. The hardware is a dispenser with a set of 28 atmospheric probes, releasable one at a time on command.

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