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.
"NASA's Small Spacecraft Technology Program is structured to advance the capabilities and technologies associated with small, low cost space missions to enhance NASA's ability to conduct more with less," said Michael Gazarik, director of NASA's Space Technology Program at Headquarters in Washington. "These flights validate new space technologies and capabilities prior to infusion into NASA science and exploration applications and missions."
The three missions selected for flight demonstration are:
NASA's Small Spacecraft Technology Program is designed to identify and support the development of new subsystem technologies to enhance or expand the capabilities of small spacecraft. The program also supports flight demonstrations of new small spacecraft technologies, capabilities and applications. In addition, it supports use of small spacecraft as platforms to test and demonstrate technologies and capabilities that might have applications in spacecraft and systems of any size.
NASA's Space Technology Program directs the Small Spacecraft Technology Program, which is managed by NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. NASA's Space Technology Program is innovating, developing, testing and flying hardware for use in NASA's future science and exploration missions. NASA's technology investments provide cutting-edge solutions for our nation's future.
Date: Aug 10, 2012