NASA is opening the next round of its CubeSat Launch Initiative, part of the White House Maker Initiative, in an effort to engage the growing community of space enthusiasts that can contribute to NASA’s space exploration goals.
The CubeSat Launch Initiative gives students, teachers and faculty a chance to get hands-on flight hardware development experience in the process of designing, building and operating small research satellites. It also provides a low-cost pathway to space for research in the areas of science, exploration, technology development, education or operations consistent with NASA’s Strategic Plan.
Applicants must submit their proposals electronically by 4:30 p.m. EST, Nov. 25. NASA will select the payloads by Feb. 6, 2015, but selection does not guarantee a launch opportunity. Selected experiments are slated to be flown as auxiliary payloads on agency rocket launches or be deployed from the International Space Station beginning in 2015 and running through 2018. NASA does not provide funding for the development of the small satellites and this opportunity is open only to U.S. non-proﬁt organizations and accredited educational organizations.
One goal of the CubeSat Launch Initiative is extend the successes of space exploration to all 50 states by launching a small satellite from at least one participant in each state in the next five years. To this end, NASA is particularly focused this round on gaining participation in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 21 states not previously selected for the CubeSat Launch Initiative. These states are: Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
CubeSats are in a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The base CubeSat dimensions are about 4x4x4 inches (10x10x11 centimeters), which equals one “Cube,” or 1U. CubeSats supported by this launch effort include volumes of 1U, 2U, 3U, and 6U. CubeSats of 1U, 2U and 3U size typically have a mass of about three pounds (1.33 kilograms) per 1U Cube. A 6U CubeSat typically has a mass of about 26.5 pounds (12 kilograms). The CubeSat’s final mass depends on which deployment method is selected.
To date, NASA has selected 114 CubeSats from 29 states, 17 of which have already been launched. Nine more CubeSats are scheduled to go into space in the next 12 months
For additional information about NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative program, visit: