QB50 CubeSats to be deployed from ISS

Planet Lab Dove CubeSats leaving the Nanoracks Deployer on February 11, 2014

Planet Lab Dove CubeSats leaving the ISS Nanoracks Deployer on February 11, 2014

It has been announced that the fifty CubeSat QB50 constellation should be shipped to the International Space Station (ISS) in July 2016 for subsequent deployment. It had been planned for them to be launched by Alcantara Cyclone Space, a joint venture between the governments of Ukraine and Brazil, but that option is not longer available.

QB50p1 and QB50p2 Precursor 2U CubeSats - Image Credit ISIS

QB50p1 and QB50p2 Precursor 2U CubeSats – Image Credit ISIS

The AlbertaSat website reports on the 9th QB50 Workshop, held September 8, 2015 in Liège, Belgium. The CubeSats are now planned to be deployed from the ISS using the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) and the Nanoracks CubeSat Deployers.

Eight NanoRacks deployers are installed on the Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform (MPEP). Each deployer has a capacity of 6U and so can hold up to six 1U, three 2U or two 3U CubeSats. They are carried by Japanese Experiment Module-Remote Manipulator System (JEM-RMS).

AlbertaSat provide an update on the QB50 precursor CubeSats P1/P2 which were launched in 2014. The first payload is working, and while it has been resetting, no damage appears to have occurred. It is possible that the second payload is damaged, but it is still functioning.

Representatives from QB50 also took the time to clearly define their goals and specify the details of the project. The project aims to probe probe thermosphere with about 40 sensors which study atmospheric science. These sensors include the Langmuir Probes that will be on Ex Alta-1. 40 CubeSats will be fitted with one of these sensors. The other 10 CubeSats will have in-orbit demonstrations.

QB50 project https://www.qb50.eu/

Launch of QB50 precursor CubeSats QB50p1 (EO-79) and QB50p2 (EO-80)

January 2014 original QB50 CubeSat launch contract signed