NASA launches next generation PhoneSat, Ames-developed launch adapter

Nov 21, 2013
A Minotaur I rocket carrying, among other payloads, 11 small cubesat research satellites as part of NASA's fourth Educational Launch of a Nanosatellite (ELaNa) program, lifts off from Virginia's Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0B at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility at 5:15 p.m. PST Nov. 19. Credit: NASA/Chris Perry

(Phys.org) —A second-generation smartphone cubesat as well as a nanosatellite deployment system, launched into space Tuesday from the Virginia coast. The cubesats were included as auxiliary payload aboard a U.S. Air Force Minotaur 1 rocket that lifted off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility at 5:15 p.m. PST.

The launch marks the first flight several components of the Nanosatellite Launch Adapter System (NLAS), built by NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. The NLAS is capable of carrying approximately 100 pounds of secondary payloads into orbit, and can accommodate various configurations of cubesats.

"NLAS will enable NASA and academic opportunities to fly nanosatellite missions as secondary payloads on many government sponsored launches. " said David Korsmeyer, director of engineering at Ames.

Also sent into orbit was PhoneSat 2.4, a second-generation smartphone cubesat mission sponsored by NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate. Phonesat 2.4 will test the smartphone's capability as communication technology for nanosatellites and as hardware to manage pointing, taking images and software execution. PhoneSat 2.4 has several improvements over the previous mission, including a two-way radio to enable command of the satellite from the ground, solar arrays to enable it to be operational for up to a year, and a system for attitude control.

"With an expected orbital life-time of up to two years, PhoneSat 2.4 will measure and validate the performance of commercially-developed components in space," said Deborah Westley, PhoneSat project manager at Ames.

Cubesats are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The cube-shaped satellites measure about four inches on each side, have a volume of about one quart and weigh less than three pounds. Cubesat research addresses science, exploration, technology development, education or space missions.

"The advancements of the cubesat community are enabling an acceleration of flight-qualified technology that will ripple through the aerospace industry," said Jason Crusan, director of NASA's Advanced Exploration Systems Division, which oversees the CubeSat Launch Initiative. "Our future missions will be standing on the developments the cubesat community has enabled."

Also onboard were cubesats research satellites from nine universities as well as the first developed by high school students. The cubesats, NASA's fourth Educational Launch of Nanosatellite (ELaNa) mission, deployed from their protective cases into Earth's orbit 20 minutes after liftoff.

As the come online, the teams responsible for them are beginning to receive signals. Although it could take several more days for full confirmation, all of the cubesats appear to be doing well in their new home in low-Earth orbit. The teams are responsible for confirming activation and normal operations of the cubesats.

The TJ3Sat from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology of Alexandria, Va., contains a voice synthesizer that will take written phrases in the form of code and produce a phonetic voice reading on the satellite's downlink frequencies. TJ3Sat is the first NASA-sponsored cubesat developed by .

ELaNa missions, conducted under NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative, give students, teachers and faculty hands-on experience developing flight hardware by providing access to a low-cost avenue for research. Since its inception in 2010, the CubeSat Launch Initiative has selected more than 90 cubesats from primarily educational and government institutions around the United States. NASA chose these miniature satellites from respondents to public announcements for the agency's CubeSat Launch Initiative. NASA has a current call for proposals due Nov. 26.

Explore further: An unmanned rocket exploded. So what?

More information: For additional information about NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative, visit: go.nasa.gov/CubeSat_initiative

For additional information about ELaNa 4, visit: go.nasa.gov/18i2YFk

For more information about NASA's PhoneSat 2.4 mission, visit: www.nasa.gov/directorates/spac… ecraft/PhoneSat.html
www.nasa.gov/content/phonesat-24-ready-for-launch

For additional information about NLAS, visit: www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/news… eady-for-flight.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA announces new CubeSat space mission candidates

Feb 27, 2013

NASA has selected 24 small satellites, including three from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard rockets planned to launch in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The ...

Ames' E. coli small satellite study selected for flight

Mar 26, 2013

NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) recently selected E. coli AntiMicrobial Satellite (EcAMSat) as one of 24 small satellites to fly as secondary payloads aboard rockets planned to launch in 2014, 2015 ...

Student-built satellite to prepare NASA instrument

Oct 26, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- When the M-Cubed satellite, built by University of Michigan students, goes into orbit, it will become the first CubeSat to test a NASA instrument for major space missions. It is scheduled ...

Recommended for you

Cassini sees sunny seas on Titan

15 hours ago

(Phys.org) —As it soared past Saturn's large moon Titan recently, NASA's Cassini spacecraft caught a glimpse of bright sunlight reflecting off hydrocarbon seas.

Is space tourism safe or do civilians risk health effects?

18 hours ago

Several companies are developing spacecraft designed to take ordinary citizens, not astronauts, on short trips into space. "Space tourism" and short periods of weightlessness appear to be safe for most individuals ...

An unmanned rocket exploded. So what?

21 hours ago

Sputnik was launched more than 50 years ago. Since then we have seen missions launched to Mercury, Mars and to all the planets within the solar system. We have sent a dozen men to the moon and many more to ...

NASA image: Sunrise from the International Space Station

22 hours ago

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman posted this image of a sunrise, captured from the International Space Station, to social media on Oct. 29, 2014. Wiseman wrote, "Not every day is easy. Yesterday was a tough one. ...

Copernicus operations secured until 2021

22 hours ago

In a landmark agreement for Europe's Copernicus programme, the European Commission and ESA have signed an Agreement of over €3 billion to manage and implement the Copernicus 'space component' between 2014 ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.