Press Release

NanoRacks Deploys CubeSats from Cygnus Spacecraft, Demonstrates Future Reusability Goals

By SpaceRef Editor
June 9, 2017
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Yesterday evening, NanoRacks successfully deployed four Spire LEMUR-2 CubeSats from Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft at a nearly 500-kilometer orbit. This was the second mission where NanoRacks deployed CubeSats at an altitude above the International Space Station orbit, and the third External Cygnus Deployment (E-NRCSD) mission overall.

NanoRacks, working with Orbital ATK and NASA, has continued to grow the External Cygnus Deployment program, which is focused on extending the mission of cargo vehicles after their primary stay at the ISS. Spire has been the flagship customer for this deployment platform, growing their fleet of weather and ship-tracking CubeSats, now with 12 satellites deployed via E-NRCSD, and 20 overall via NanoRacks.

This program is a stepping-stone into NanoRacks larger goal of reusing in-space hardware for creation of commercial space stations and habitats. The Company publicly announced this goal upon being awarded funding by NASA’s NextSTEP Phase-II Program for studying reusability of the upper stages of rockets, along with partners at Space Systems Loral (SSL) and United Launch Alliance (ULA).

“This program is unique for a number of reasons,” says NanoRacks Mission Manager, Henry Martin. “Not only are we deploying exciting commercial satellites, but we’re also at the tipping point for showing the limitless possibilities of repurposing in-space vehicles. Our customer base is growing for future missions, and we have plans to expand our opportunities within the next year. Our entire satellite team looks forward to continuing to work with Orbital ATK on the multipurpose use of the Cygnus spacecraft.”

The release of these four Spire LEMUR-2 CubeSats completes the NanoRacks’ deployments from the Orbital ATK Commercial Resupply Services Mission-7 (OA-7), which also included 34 additional satellites deployed from the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD) on the International Space Station.

The OA-7 launch brought the Company’s largest CubeSat mission to date into orbit, totaling 38 satellites.

Availability remains for satellite customers interested in launching on the Orbital ATK CRS-9 E-NRCSD Mission, with additional availability as well as on Orbital ATK CRS-10 and beyond. To book your spot, email NanoRacks at

Thank you to NASA, the ISS Program Office, and Orbital ATK for their continued support on this program.

SpaceRef staff editor.