FASTSAT microsatellite readied to share a ride

Nov 04, 2010 By Kim Newton
Four satellites sit atop the Minotaur IV launch vehicle that will launch them to space Nov. 19 on the Space Test Program S26 mission. Clockwise from the bottom are the Formation Autonomous Spacecraft with Thruster, Relnav, Attitude and Crosslink, or FASTRAC, satellite; the Space Test Program Sat-2, or STPSat-2; the Fast, Affordable Science and Technology Satellite, or FASTSAT; and the FalconSat-5, or FS-5. Dynetics Corp. engineer Mike Graves, left, and NASA engineer Tim Smith inspect the FASTSAT microsatellite after mating with the multi-payload adapter is complete. (Lou Hernandez/Air Force Space & Missile Systems Center)

As the holiday season approaches, people are already planning ways to share with others, because sharing is always good. This is also true for NASA's Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite, or FASTSAT, which will share a ride to space with three other satellites on Nov. 19.

The satellites will be launched on the Air Force Space Test Program's (STP) upcoming mission, STP-S26, which will launch from the Alaska Aerospace Corporation's Kodiak Launch Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska.

Earlier this month, FASTSAT and three other secondary payload satellites were mated to the multi-payload adapter atop the Minotaur IV in preparation for launch.

Dynetics engineer Mike Graves, left, helps lift the Fast, Affordable Science and Technology Satellite, or FASTSAT, with the help of Dynetics engineer Ray McCormick, center, and NASA FASTSAT chief engineer Tim Smith, right. They mated the microsatellite with the multi-payload adapter on the Minotaur IV launch vehicle in mid-October. FASTSAT enables both NASA and military opportunities to conduct innovative research missions that gain unique scientific insights or mature the readiness of new technology components, subsystems or systems by increasing the technology readiness level for future missions. (Lou Hernandez/Air Force Space & Missile Systems Center)

FASTSAT is ’s first microsatellite designed to create a capability that increases opportunities for secondary, scientific and technology payloads, or rideshares, to be flown at lower cost than previously possible.

The overall objective of the FASTSAT mission is to demonstrate the capability to build, design and test a microsatellite platform to enable governmental, academic and industry researchers to conduct low-cost scientific and technology experiments on an autonomous in space.

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