In an effort to support the development of dedicated small-satellite launch vehicles and help reduce a backlog of more than 50 CubeSats that are waiting to fly, NASA has published a solicitation for a CubeSat launch.
The program — known as the NASA Launch Services (NLS) Enabling eXploration & Technology or NEXT — is aimed at securing a launch vehicle capable of placing three 3U sized Cubesats weighing a minimum of 15 kg (33 lbs) to a minimum orbit of 425 km (264 miles).
The U.S. Air Force’s Office of Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) has teamed up with the University of Hawaii and Aerojet to develop a new small-sat launch vehicle that will make its maiden flight later this year from a missile range on Kauai.
The rail-launched Spaceborne Payload Assist Rocket Kauai (SPARK, a.k.a., Super Strypi) will be capable of launching small satellites and CubeSats into low Earth and sun synchronous orbits at a low cost. The objective is to place 250 kg. (551 lb.) payloads into a 400-km (249 mile) sun-synchronous orbit from Kauai.
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) – 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…)
Back for the afternoon session, which focuses on NASA technology research. Dr. James Reuther, deputy director of the tech program at NASA’s Office of Chief Technologist, is now giving an overview of the space agency’s research programs. There are nine different research areas.
This will be followed at 2 p.m. PDT (5 p.m. EDT) by “Approaching the Tipping Point,” a panel discussion of the relationship between the needs of NewSpace and NASA’s technology roadmap.
SSTL PR — Small satellite pioneer Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) plans to jump-start space innovation by combining state-of-the-art avionics with flight proven systems in a low cost 50kg class satellite platform – and for a price tag of around £2m [$3 million].
Adopting a new set of satellite design paradigms, the SSTL-50 microsatellite has a novel dual-mode design with the sole purpose of supporting and stimulating payload and subsystem innovation. One side of the spacecraft will fly the latest avionics, subsystems and high speed electronics available – either customer supplied or from SSTL – while the other side contains SSTL’s flight proven systems, offering low risk, managed redundancy. (more…)
Spaceflight Services (Spaceflight) announced its participation in the Rocket City Space Pioneers Google Lunar X-Prize Team. Responsible for mission integration and providing space transportation services to Low Lunar Orbit, Spaceflight is also offering flight opportunities for small payloads to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) and Low Lunar Orbit (LLO).