Recently in the Seconday Payloads Category


Nanosatellites now have their own mass transit to catch rides to space and perform experiments in microgravity. A new NASA-designed and developed satellite deployer, dubbed the Nano Launch Adapter System (NLAS), is scheduled to demonstrate the capability to launch a flock of satellites into space later this year.

Three smartphones destined to become low-cost satellites rode to space Sunday aboard the maiden flight of Orbital Science Corp.'s Antares rocket from NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia. SpaceRef has been provided with new details and images.

"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a requirement to launch pico-, nano-, and/or micro-satellites (CubeSats) into earth orbit. A CubeSat is a type of miniaturized space research satellite that typically uses commercial, off-the-shelf electronic components. NASA/ John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) plans to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for CubeSat deployer hardware and integration services. The requirement includes engineering development support, deployer carrier hardware, CubeSat to deployer and deployer to launch vehicle (LV) integration, and system testing." More

"The First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, took a close-up view of Scotland's first satellite today. Clyde Space, which designed and built the UKube-1 nanosatellite, is running final tests at the company's headquarters in the West of Scotland Science Park ahead of its deployment next month to Kazakhstan, where it will be launched in a Russian Soyuz-2 rocket later this year. Employing more than 20 highly-skilled full-time staff, Clyde Space is a leading producer of small satellite, nanosatellite and 'CubeSat' systems - fully-functional satellites that 'piggy-back' on other launches to minimise costs and boost the commercial availability of space research. The company develops and delivers products to commercial aerospace, defence companies and academic teams around the world and now plans to open a base next year in the United States - which already accounts for almost a third of its current orders." More

8th Annual CanSat Competition

"The Naval Research Laboratory supported the 8th Annual CanSat competition where 26 college rocket teams came together from all over the world to compete. This year's "mission" was to launch an autonomous CanSat (a satellite in a can) with a deployable lander containing one large raw hen egg that cannot be damaged on landing. The "CanSat " refers to the complete system-the carrier and the lander. The event was held on June 8-10, 2012, in Abilene and Burkett, Texas.

The CanSat is deployed from a rocket at an altitude of about 610 meters (2001 feet). Once released from the rocket, the CanSat descends between 10 and 20 meters per second using any type of descent control system or device. At an altitude of 200 meters, the CanSat reduces the descent rate to within 4 and 6 meters per second. At 91 meters altitude, the CanSat carrier releases the lander that contains one large raw hen's egg. The lander hopefully lands without damaging the egg. The lander cannot free fall. It must contain a descent control system or device to reduce the descent rate to less than 5 meters per second. The carrier telemetry data may be stored on-board for post processing in the event of a communications failure. Teams must build their own ground station. Telemetry from the carrier is displayed, in real-time, on a team-developed ground station." More.

"University students will put their academic skills to the test when atmospheric and technology experiments they developed fly on a NASA suborbital sounding rocket. The launch will take place between 6:30 and 10 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 23, from the agency's Wallops Flight Facility at Wallops Island, Va. Four university experiments will be flown as part of an educational project called RockSat-X, which is designed to provide students hands-on experience in designing, fabricating, testing and conducting experiments for space flight. The project is a joint effort between NASA and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium at the University of Colorado at Boulder."

"Centennial Challenges is a program of prize competitions to stimulate innovation in technologies of interest and value to NASA and the nation. In 2010 NASA announced a Nano-Satellite Launch (NSL) Challenge to encourage development of safe, low-cost, small-payload delivery systems for frequent access to low Earth orbit (LEO) through innovations in propulsion and other technologies as well as operations and management for broader applications in future launch systems that could result in a commercial capability for dedicated launches of small satellites at a cost comparable to secondary payload launches--a potential new market with Government, commercial, and academic customers. To assist in formulation of the Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge, NASA is seeking additional information on the nano-satellite market and on approaches to address the market needs. There are currently several existing launch vehicles and new launch vehicle programs that could provide ride-sharing opportunities for nano-satellite. A NASA NSL Challenge could focus on a vehicle dedicated to providing greater payload design flexibility for cubesats and other small payloads, more frequent access to space at costs comparable or less than existing or proposed ride-share launch options." More

Announcement of Flight Opportunities #5

Flight Opportunities for Payloads Maturing Crosscutting Technologies that Advance Multiple Future Space Missions to Flight Readiness Status

"Dear Flight Opportunities community: We are pleased to announce the release of Announcement of Flight Opportunities #5 (AFO5) today. This new call brings back the opportunity to propose to the parabolic flight platform, in addition to our current sRLV and balloon providers. Proposal due date is September 21, with a tentative announcement of selections in November 2012."

JAXA Cubesat Mission Update


SDS-4: End of Critical Phase Completed

"The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) would like to announce that the Small Demonstration Satellite-4 (SDS-4) completed its critical phase operations and moved to the initial phase. The SDS-4 was launched by the H-IIA F21 at 1:39 a.m. on May 18, 2012 (Japan Standard Time) as a secondary payload with the Global Change Observation Satellite 1st - Water "SHIZUKU" (GCOM-1.)"

NASA Announcement of Flight Opportunities #4 Now Open

"NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) seeks to mature towards flight readiness status crosscutting technologies that perform relevant environment testing and advance multiple future space missions. To facilitate this goal, NASA is providing access to certain flight opportunities available to the Agency, on a no-exchange-of funds basis, to entities that have technology payloads meeting specified criteria. They may be exposed to a near-zero or reduced gravity environment by flying on aircraft that provide parabolic flight trajectories and on sRLVs that are potentially capable of flying to altitudes above 100 km. For flight tests that do not require microgravity, but do require the temperature, pressure and atmospheric conditions of high altitudes, balloon flights are available."

NASA Solicitation: Scientific Payload for Multipoint Space Physics Measurements: Nansoat Cubesat

"NASA/ARC plans to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a minimum of 14 units, with options for up to 6 additional units, for a maximum of 20, identical flight-qualified payload instrument packages. These packages must be designed to interface with the Government-furnished EtherSat bus for the purpose of demonstrating distributed multipoint space physics measurements hosted by the Ethersat constellation. A provision of 25% spare parts/units (detailed in Delivery section of the draft Statement of Work) is additionally to be provided. One "engineering development unit"(EDU) (for evaluation purposes) is also to be delivered, near mid-term. The period of performance is to be less than 7 months total duration, with delivery required in November 2012 to meet NASA's satellite integration schedule."

NASA Seeks Proposals For Edison Small Satellite Demonstrations

"NASA is seeking proposals for flight demonstrations of small satellite technologies with the goal of increasing the technical capabilities and range of uses for this emerging category of spacecraft. Small satellites typically weigh less than 400 pounds (180 kg) and are generally launched as secondary payloads on rockets carrying larger spacecraft. The small satellite category includes softball-sized "CubeSats," which are standardized, small, cube-shaped spacecraft that can carry small payloads, and even smaller experimental spacecraft."

NASA Solicitation: Edison Small Satellite Flight Demonstration Missions

"NASA, through this BAA, plans to seek proposals for low-cost, flight demonstrations for small satellite technology. This procurement will accelerate the development of small spacecraft capabilities for NASA, commercial, and other space sector users. Successful proposals will provide a compelling infusion strategy that ensures that the proposed technology will find active utility after the completion of the flight demonstration mission. The small spacecraft demonstration missions under the Edison Program are intended to flight- validate one or more small spacecraft subsystem technologies or mission capabilities with game-changing and/or crosscutting potential, specifically maturation from NASA Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 5 or 6 to TRL 7."

ESA Cubs delivered for first Vega flight

"The first CubeSats to be sponsored by ESA's Education Office have been delivered to the agency's Space Technology and Research Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands. The ESA CubeSat programme began on 28 May 2007, when Antonio Fabrizi, the Director of Launchers, and Rene Oosterlinck, the Director of Legal Affairs and External Relations, signed an agreement to include an educational payload on the maiden flight of the Vega launch vehicle. The announcement of opportunity issued by ESA's Education Office in February 2008 offered the possibility of launching up to nine university CubeSats free-of-charge on Europe's newest launcher."

Chipsat pioneer named NASA's chief technologist, Nature

"Mason Peck 's interest in chipsats, and an experiment called Sprite, might be even more radical. These satellites pack all the communication and navigation capabilities they need onto a chip the size of a dime; for fuel, they can simply ride on the wave of the solar wind, like a miniature solar sail. Right now, Peck has a few Sprites being tested on the space station, but he foresees all sorts of future uses: clusters of chipsats, stationed at the Earth-Sun Lagrangian point, for monitoring dangerous outbursts of Solar wind; a benign chipsat cloud surrounding larger spacecraft to serve as inspectors and sentries; or an armada of chipsats, sent plunging into the atmosphere of an outer planet, in order to return basic physics and chemistry data."

NASA Names Cornell Professor To CTO Position, Information Week

"At Cornell, Peck is the principal investigator on the CUSat in-orbit inspection technology demonstration, a pair of satellites the university has built that are scheduled to launch in 2013 on a Falcon 9 rocket through the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory's University Nanosatellite program."

CUSat

DICE Satellites Placed Into Orbit

DICE - Dynamic Ionosphere Cubesat Experiment: DICE will map geomagnetic Storm Enhanced Density (SED) plasma bulge and plume formations in Earth's ionosphere. Two identical spinning spacecraft will measure plasma density and electric fields to determine the how and why of variations in ionospheric plasma density that affect the performance of communications, surveillance, and navigation systems on earth and in space.

Just-launched tiny USU satellites studying solar disturbances, Desert News

"The DICE satellites, known as "nanosatellites," are smaller than a toaster. They were put together by students at Utah State University and launched from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on a Delta rocket that also carried NASA's satellite, known as the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System."

Twin USU Built Small Satellites Delivered to California for Launch Prep

"Two Utah State University completed Dynamic Ionosphere Cubesat Experiment (DICE) satellites have been delivered to the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, for final launch readiness. Cal Poly will place the two National Science Foundation funded miniature spacecraft in an ejection canister and verify that the assembly is ready for launch."

AubieSat-1: "AubieSat-1 is the first student built satellite in Alabama. It is a 1U CubeSat: 1000cm3 in volume and weighing 1.03-kg. It is entirely designed and built and tested by Auburn University undergraduate students, without using components off the shelf. It will study radio wave propagation through the ionosphere and test solar panel protective films. It is part of the ELaNa3 Mission."

Radio Aurora Explorer (RAX): "RAX is a joint venture between the University of Michigan and SRI International. Its primary mission objective is to study large plasma formations in the ionosphere, the highest region of our atmosphere. These plasma instabilities are known to spawn magnetic field-aligned irregularities (FAI), or dense plasma clouds known to disrupt communication between Earth and orbiting spacecraft." Twitter: @RAX_2010 Facebook RAX

Michigan Multipurpose Minisat (M-Cubed): "The objective of MCubed is to obtain a mid resolution image to date of Earth with at least 60% land mass and a maximum of 20% cloud coverage from a single cubesat platform. S3FL is also developing the MCubed bus with the intention of making it a heritage design, thus allowing for future missions to be flown on the same bus." Twitter: @UMCubed Tumblr: M-Cubed

Michigan Exploration Laboratory

M-CUBED and RAX Photos below

MSU satellite orbits the Earth after early morning launch

"Early Friday morning, shortly before 4 a.m. Mountain time, a student-built satellite called Explorer-1 [Prime] roared into the sky on a NASA rocket launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Almost two hours later, the satellite separated from the rocket and starting circling the Earth. Within three hours of launch, ham radio operators in France, England and The Netherlands had reported hearing from the satellite. ... Updates on Explorer-1 [Prime] are available on the Montana Space Grant Consortium Facebook page."

NASA Announcement of Mission of Opportunity for Secondary Payload on EcAMSat NanoSatellite Flight Opportunity

"The International Space Station Utilization Office currently has 2U Mission of opportunity payload capacity available on the EcAMSat launch mission planned for Summer of 2012. This launch opportunity will be open to all Ames individuals or groups with technology that meets the interface requirements as described in the attached file and will be ready for integration by the project March 21, 2012, CDR date."

Register for NASA's GRAIL MoonKAM

In fall 2011, NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL, mission is scheduled to launch twin spacecraft in tandem low-altitude orbits around the moon. The spacecraft will measure the moon's gravity in unprecedented detail. The mission will answer key questions about the moon's internal structure and give scientists a better understanding of how our solar system formed.

The satellites will carry special cameras, dubbed MoonKam, which stands for Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students. During the science phase of the mission, students will send in requests for the cameras to take photos of specific areas on the lunar surface. The images will be posted on the Internet, and students can refer to them as they study highlands, maria and other features of the moon's topography.

Register at the GRAIL MoonKam website to receive information and resources about this unique opportunity and stay up-to-date with GRAIL MoonKAM news and events.

NASA Seeks Cubesat Proposals

ROSES-11 Amendment 9: New proposal opportunities for Earth and space science experiments using short duration orbital platforms including CubeSats.

Short duration orbital platforms, such as CubeSats, may offer new capabilities for the conduct of NASA scientific research, education, and technology advancement. NASA has commenced a CubeSat Launch Initiative and begun regularly providing launch opportunities for CubeSats as secondary payloads on NASA launch vehicles.