Press Release

New Launch Target Date Set for NASA’s GeneSat-1 Satellite

By SpaceRef Editor
December 15, 2006
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New Launch Target Date Set for NASA’s GeneSat-1 Satellite

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. – NASA’s GeneSat-1 is ready to ride an Air Force rocket into Earth orbit on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006, from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va. The launch window extends from 4 a.m. PST (7 a.m. EST) to 7:30 a.m. PST (10:30 a.m. EST).

The 10-pound GeneSat-1 satellite will carry bacteria inside a miniature laboratory to study how the microbes may respond in spaceflight. GeneSat-1 is a secondary payload on an Air Force four-stage Minotaur 1 rocket that will deliver the Air Force TacSat 2 satellite to orbit, the primary objective of the launch.

The launch, originally scheduled for Dec. 11, was delayed because of software issues on the TacSat 2. After the issues were resolved, the rocket was cleared for launch.

GeneSat-1 was designed and built at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., and the mission will be managed from the center. The Small Satellite Office at NASA Ames teamed up with industry and local universities to develop the fully automated, miniature GeneSat spaceflight system that provides life support for small living things.

“During this mission, we are exposing bacteria to the space environment to see how they are affected,” said John Hines, GeneSat-1 project manager at NASA Ames. GeneSat-1’s onboard micro-laboratory includes sensors and optical systems that can detect proteins that are the products of specific genetic activity. The GeneSat-1 ground control station at NASA Ames will receive data radioed from the micro-laboratory after it has completed its observations and tests of the bacteria inside.

The biological test will last only 96 hours, but the GeneSat-1 team will evaluate the stability of the orbiting payload’s systems for four months to a year.

For the most current launch information, please telephone Keith Koehler, public affairs, at Wallops Flight Facility: 757-824-1579, or visit:

To view the launch via webcast, please visit:

For more information about GeneSat-1, please visit:

Publication-size images are available at:

SpaceRef staff editor.