As the most experienced launch company in the nation, United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced today it is taking CubeSat rideshares to the next level by launching a new, innovative program offering universities the chance to compete for free CubeSat rides on future launches.
"ULA will offer universities the chance to compete for at least six CubeSat launch slots on two Atlas V missions, with a goal to eventually add university CubeSat slots to nearly every Atlas and Vulcan launch," said Tory Bruno, ULA president and CEO. "There is a growing need for universities to have access and availability to launch their CubeSats and this program will transform the way these universities get to space by making space more affordable and accessible."
"This is exactly the kind of collaborative innovation that we celebrate in Colorado," said Lt. Gov. Joseph Garcia. "Here, we have a Colorado company giving Colorado students at a Colorado university an unbelievable opportunity to send a satellite into space. What a great day for our state."
Rideshare is a flight-proven, innovative approach that provides customers a low-cost way to achieve various mission objectives without the need for a dedicated launch vehicle. CubeSats are miniaturized satellites originally designed for use in conjunction with university educational projects and are typically 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm (4 inches x 4 inches x 4 inches) and approximately 1.3 kg (3 lbs).
"Since its inception, ULA has been committed to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education initiatives and programs such as this help to motivate, educate and develop our next generation of rocket scientists and space entrepreneurs," said Bruno. "We are making the announcement today with University of Colorado President Bruce Benson and University of Colorado Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano, key partners in STEM education, and are pleased to offer the university the first free CubeSat launch slot in 2017."
"CU-Boulder students have been building and operating small satellites for 20 years, including the Colorado Student Space Weather CubeSat launched on a ULA Atlas rocket in 2012," DiStefano said. "The ability to provide science and engineering students with the opportunity to fly the satellites they build is an invaluable motivational and educational tool. We are thrilled to partner with ULA, a visionary organization that is helping to facilitate a nationwide STEM effort."
Interested universities should email ULACubeSats@ulalaunch.com by Dec. 18, 2015 to notify ULA they are interested in participating. In early 2016, ULA will release a request for proposal (RFP) for the first competitive CubeSat launch slots. The selected universities will be announced in August 2016.
In addition, ULA is offering the nation's universities the chance to help name the new CubeSat program. Universities, educators and students can submit names for consideration to ULACubeSats@ulalaunch.com using a campus-issued email address. Submissions are due by Dec.18, 2015. The winning name will be announced early next year, and the institution will receive a free CubeSat launch slot on a future mission. As America's ride to space, ULA has launched 102 missions, including 55 CubeSats, with 100 percent mission success.
About United Launch Alliance
With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation's most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 100 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system. For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com. Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch, twitter.com/ulalaunch and instagram.com/ulalaunch.