NASA announces third round of CubeSat space mission candidates

Feb 15, 2012
The image on the left is an artist rendering of Montana State University's Explorer 1 CubeSat. The image on the right is a CubeSat created by the University of Michigan designated the Michigan Mulitpurpose Mini-satellite, or M-Cubed. M-Cubed's mission is to obtain mid-resolution color imagery of Earth's surface and to carry the JPL/Caltech-developed CubeSat On-board processing Validation Experiment (COVE). COVE will prove an image processing algorithm designed for the Multiangle Spectro-Polarimetric Imager (MSPI) instrument utilizing the first in-space application of a new radiation-hardened FPGA processor. COVE will advance technology required for real-time, high-data-rate instrument processing relevant to future Earth science. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Montana State University

NASA has selected 33 small satellites to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard rockets planned to launch in 2013 and 2014. The proposed CubeSats come from universities across the country, the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation, NASA field centers and Department of Defense organizations.

CubeSats are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The cube-shaped satellites are approximately four inches long, have a volume of about one quart and weigh less than three pounds.

The selections are from the third round of the CubeSat Launch Initiative. After launch, the satellites will conduct technology demonstrations, educational research or science missions. The selected spacecraft are eligible for flight after final negotiations and an opportunity for flight becomes available. The satellites come from the following organizations:

-- Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
-- Air Force Research Lab, Wright-Patterson AFB
-- California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
-- Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.
-- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
-- Montana State University, Bozeman
-- Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif. (2 CubeSats)
-- NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
-- NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
-- NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in partnership with the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena (2 CubeSats)
-- NASA's , Cape Canaveral, Fla.
-- The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation, Silver Spring, Md.
-- Saint Louis University, St. Louis
-- Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, Mont.
-- Space and Missile Defense Command, Huntsville, Ala. (2 CubeSats)
-- Taylor University, Upland, Ind.
-- University of Alabama, Huntsville
-- University of California, Berkeley
-- University of Colorado, Boulder (2 CubeSats)
-- University of Hawaii, Manoa (3 CubeSats)
-- University of Illinois, Urbana (2 CubeSats)
-- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
-- University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D.
-- University of Texas, Austin
-- US Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
-- Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg

Thirty-two CubeSat missions have been selected for launch in the previous two rounds of the CubeSat Launch Initiative. Eight CubeSat missions have been launched (including five selected via the CubeSat Launch Initiative) to date via the agency's Launch Services Program Educational Launch of Nanosatellite, or ELaNa, program.

For additional information on NASA's Launch Initiative program, visit: http://go.usa.gov/Qbf

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