Tag: Cubesats

Japanese Smallsat Launcher Fails in Maiden Flight

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The world’s smallest launch vehicle failed in its maiden launch from a Japanese spaceport on Sunday.

JAXA’s SS-520-4 booster took off from the >Uchinoura Space Center at 8:33 a.m. local time carrying the TRICOM-1 CubeSat. The space agency said although the rocket’s first stage fired normally, the second stage failed to ignite. The booster and its payload fell into the ocean.

The SS-520-4 is an upgraded version of a Japanese sounding rocket that is designed to launch micro-satellites. The three-stage booster stands only 9.5 meters (31.3 ft) tall and has a diameter of .52 meters (1.7 ft).

The TRICOM-1 spacecraft was developed by the University of Tokyo. The 3-kg (6.6 lb) CubeSat included store-and-forward communications equipment and Earth observation cameras.

NASA Selects Tyvak for Series of CubeSat Pathfinder Demo Missions

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Pathfinder technology demonstrator CubeSat (Credit: NASA)

Pathfinder technology demonstrator CubeSat (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology Program has selected Tyvak Nanosatellite Systems of Irvine, California to provide a series of small spacecraft for its Pathfinder Technology Demonstrator (PTD) missions. Using government-furnished technology payloads for a series of flight demonstrations, the small spacecraft has the potential to lower mission costs and technical risks for future missions.

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NASA’s Exploration Year in Review

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BEAM module (Credit: NASA TV)

BEAM module (Credit: NASA TV)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2016, NASA drove advances in technology, science, aeronautics and space exploration that enhanced the world’s knowledge, innovation, and stewardship of Earth.

“This past year marked record-breaking progress in our exploration objectives,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “We advanced the capabilities we’ll need to travel farther into the solar system while increasing observations of our home and the universe, learning more about how to continuously live and work in space, and, of course, inspiring the next generation of leaders to take up our Journey to Mars and make their own discoveries.”
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Chinese Rocket Places Remote Sensing Satellites in Wrong Orbits

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SuperView-1 satellite (Credti:

SuperView-1 satellite (Credit: Beijing Space View Technology Co.)

China’s launch of two commercial remote sensing satellites went awry on Wednesday, leaving the spacecraft in the wrong orbit.

The pair of SuperView-1 satellites lifted off aboard a Long March 2D from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center bound for an orbit of 500 km.

Space-Track.org data show four objects in elliptical orbits with apogees of 524 km (325.6 miles) and perigees ranging from 212 to 216 km (131.7 to 134.2 miles). One of the other objects was a 2U amateur radio CubeSat.

Unless the perigees of the SuperView-1 satellites can be raised using on-board propellant, it might only be months before they re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up.

The satellites are part of a constellation of remote sensing spacecraft being launched by the Beijing Space View Technology Co., Ltd.  The company plans to launch two more SuperView-1 spacecraft in 2017 and additional ones through 2022.

It was second launch mishap this year for China’s space program. In August, a Long March 3C booster failed to orbit the Gaofen-10 remote sensing satellite after launch from the Taiyuan spaceport.

Japanese Cargo Vehicle Arrives at ISS with NanoRacks Payloads

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HTV-6 cargo ship approaches the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

HTV-6 cargo ship approaches the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON, December 13, 2016 (NanoRacks PR) – The Japanese Space Agency JAXA’s H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) cargo spacecraft successfully berthed to the International Space Station (ISS) on its sixth mission on Tuesday, December 13. The berthing occurred after a four-day flight to the station following the spacecraft’s launch Friday evening local time on an H-IIB rocket from the Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the Tanegashima Space Center. The cargo ship arrived with eight NanoRacks customer payloads on board.

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A Box of ‘Black Magic’ to Study Earth from Space

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RainCube, due to fly in 2017, forced JPL’s engineers to get creative in order to squeeze an antenna into a CubeSat. (Credits: Tyvak/Jonathan Sauder/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

RainCube, due to fly in 2017, forced JPL’s engineers to get creative in order to squeeze an antenna into a CubeSat. (Credits: Tyvak/Jonathan Sauder/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Black magic.

That’s what radiofrequency engineers call the mysterious forces guiding communications over the air. These forces involve complex physics and are difficult enough to master on Earth. They only get more baffling when you’re beaming signals into space.

Until now, the shape of choice for casting this “magic” has been the parabolic dish. The bigger the antenna dish, the better it is at “catching” or transmitting signals from far away.

But CubeSats are changing that. These spacecraft are meant to be light, cheap and extremely small: most aren’t much bigger than a cereal box. Suddenly, antenna designers have to pack their “black magic” into a device where there’s no room for a dish — let alone much else.

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NanoRacks Completes Above Space Station Cygnus CubeSat Deployment

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The Orbital ATK Cygnus space freighter is seen moments after being released from the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm. (Credit: NASA TV)

The Orbital ATK Cygnus space freighter is seen moments after being released from the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NanoRacks PR) – On November 25, 2016 NanoRacks successfully deployed four Spire LEMUR-2 CubeSats from Orbital-ATK’s Cygnus Cargo Vehicle from a 500-kilometer orbit, flying high above the International Space Station (ISS) in the first mission of its kind.

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Cygnus Departs Space Station, Begins Experiments

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The Orbital ATK Cygnus space freighter is seen moments after being released from the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm. (Credit: NASA TV)

The Orbital ATK Cygnus space freighter is seen moments after being released from the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm. (Credit: NASA TV)

DULLES, Va., 21 November 2016 (Orbital ATK PR) – Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced that its Cygnus™ spacecraft successfully unberthed from the International Space Station, starting the second phase of its mission before it reenters Earth’s atmosphere. Orbiting on its own, free of the ISS, the “S.S. Alan Poindexter” Cygnus will conduct two secondary mission objectives as part of its flight program: the Saffire-II payload experiment and the deployment of CubeSats to enhance weather forecasting capabilities. This is the second time Orbital ATK will use a Cygnus spacecraft as a platform for conducting science experiments in space.

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Tyvak Facilitates CubeSat Missions on Commercial Atlas V Mission

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A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the WorldView-4 spacecraft lifts off from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Credit: ULA)

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the WorldView-4 spacecraft lifts off from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Credit: ULA)

IRVINE, Calif., November 11, 2016 (Tyvak PR) – Today, seven National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) CubeSats launched aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) as an auxiliary payload on the DigitalGlobe Inc. WorldView-4 mission.

Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems Inc. partnered with California Polytechnic (Cal Poly), ULA, Lockheed Martin and DigitalGlobe to secure this unique rideshare opportunity – the first of its kind for the NRO.

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Atlas V Launches WorldView-4 Satellite, 7 CubeSats

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A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the WorldView-4 spacecraft lifts off from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Credit: ULA)

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the WorldView-4 spacecraft lifts off from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Credit: ULA)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., Nov. 11, 2016 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the WorldView-4 satellite for DigitalGlobe lifted off from Space Launch Complex-3 Nov. 11 at 10:30 a.m. PST. Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services procured the Atlas V for this mission.

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NASA Smallsats to Take Fresh Look at Earth

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TROPICS, a new NASA Earth-observing mission announced this year, will study the insides of hurricanes with a constellation of 12 CubeSats. (Credit: MIT Lincoln Laboratory)

TROPICS, a new NASA Earth-observing mission announced this year, will study the insides of hurricanes with a constellation of 12 CubeSats. (Credit: MIT Lincoln Laboratory)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Beginning this month, NASA is launching a suite of six next-generation, Earth-observing small satellite missions to demonstrate innovative new approaches for studying our changing planet.

These small satellites range in size from a loaf of bread to a small washing machine and weigh from a few to 400 pounds. Their small size keeps development and launch costs down as they often hitch a ride to space as a “secondary payload” on another mission’s rocket – providing an economical avenue for testing new technologies and conducting science.

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NanoRacks NextGen Platforms and External CubeSat Deployer Arrive at Space Station

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nano_racks_logoHOUSTON, Texas, October 24, 2016 (NanoRacks PR) – Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft successfully berthed to the International Space Station (ISS) Sunday early morning after launching Monday night from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia.

Onboard Cygnus are four of Spire’s LEMUR-2 CubeSats in a NanoRacks External Deployer, and Black Box, NanoRacks’ NextGen research platform.

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NASA Awards Funding to Five Teams in Cube Quest Challenge

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NASA_Cube_Quest_Challenge
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded $30,000 to each of the five top-scoring teams in Ground Tournament-3 of the agency’s small satellite Cube Quest Challenge.

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NASA Establishes the Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute

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Spacecraft specialists prepare spacecraft to perform the Edison Demonstration of Smallsat Networks (EDSN) mission. (Credit: NASA Ames Research Center)

Spacecraft specialists prepare spacecraft to perform the Edison Demonstration of Smallsat Networks (EDSN) mission. (Credit: NASA Ames Research Center)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA announces the addition of its newest virtual institute to advance the field of small spacecraft systems. The Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute (S3VI), hosted at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, will leverage the growing small spacecraft community, promote innovation, identify emerging technology opportunities, and provide an efficient channel for communication about small spacecraft systems with industry, academia, and other government agencies.

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Harnessing the Small Satellite Revolution

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Members of the NASA Ames Nodes Integration & Test team ready to integrate the Nodes 1 and 2 spacecraft (forefront) into the Nanoracks dispenser.(Credit: NASA)

Members of the NASA Ames Nodes Integration & Test team ready to integrate the Nodes 1 and 2 spacecraft (forefront) into the Nanoracks dispenser.(Credit: NASA)

by Steve Fetter and Tom Kalil
White House OSTP

Today, astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly are visiting the White House to talk to the President about developing innovative new space technologies. One critical area for technology development is making satellites more affordable, adaptable, and adept at providing the sorts of real-time information that will help advance knowledge out in space and on Earth.

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