The first Nanosatellite Launch Adapter System, or NLAS has been shipped for integration for a launch expected in late 2013.
Right now, nanosatellites can be deployed only in small numbers by rocket or from the International Space Station. But NLAS, developed by the Ames Research Center, can hold up to 24 cube satellites, opening up opportunities for smaller research projects to access space.
NLAS is expected to be used by NASA, other government agencies, and commercial entities.
These video shows CubeSat deployment experiments carried out in a weightless environment on the “Vomit Comet” aircraft by students from the University of Texas.
The team write:
Nanosatellites are becoming increasingly common in the aerospace industry due to their reduced size, small mass, and economical cost. These small satellites will often operate in groups rather than as single satellites, and once they are clear of the carrier, separate from one another.One topic of immense interest is the characterization of the separation dynamics of such satellites.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Public Notice to provide guidance concerning FCC licensing of spectrum for use by small satellites, including satellites that fall within the categories of pico-satellites, nano-satellites and cubesats.
The advent of such small satellite designs has brought with it dramatically lower launch costs, enabling a larger range of organizations to directly launch satellites. Institutions such as universities and research organizations that previously found it cost prohibitive to launch their own satellite can now participate in the exploration of space. Many of these participants may be unfamiliar with the spectrum licensing, scheduling and other requirements attendant on satellites. This Public Notice seeks to alert affected parties of these requirements and thus aid small satellite operators in the planning necessary for a successful launch operation.
Deepti Kannapan at the 23rd AAS-AIAA Spaceflight Mechanics Meeting
The 2013 Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, hosted by the American Astronautical Society (AAS) and co-hosted by American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) took place in Kauai, Hawaii, February 10-14, 2013.
At the meeting Deepti Kannapan presented her paper on a new attitude control algorithm developed as a part of her Dual Degree Project. This algorithm is being implemented in the IIT Madras Student Satellite (IITMSat) that is being developed by students at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras.
IITMSat Primary Mission Objectives:
• To design, fabricate, test and launch a small-satellite (15kg), that demonstrates all features of satellite functioning, and build a ground station for collection of data from the satellite
• To measure the energy spectrum of protons and electrons beneath the inner-Van Allen radiation belt boundary (600-800 km) to aid earthquake prediction studies
• Interpret the data received from the satellite and analyze the effects of solar flares, lightning storms and seismic activity on the radiation belts
Did you ever wonder how Nanosatellites are being launched ?
Well, Meidad Pariente has edited a video produced by the Aalto-1 team that explains how such a task is performed.
Both the edited and original videos are shown.
Aalto-1 is a student CubeSat project of Aalto University, Finland that plans to operate at VHF-UHF and there will also be an S-band transmitter. Up to 8 watts of power will be available from the Solar panels.
2013 should see the first flight of a new satellite launch vehicle.
Super Strypi, also known as SPARK (Space-borne Payload Assist Rocket – Kauai), has been developed by Sandia National Laboratories, the University of Hawaii and Aerojet. The rocket is based on an enlarged version of Sandia’s Strypi sounding rocket.
The all solid fueled vehicle uses a GEM-46 (LEO-46) motor of Delta-2H heritage as first stage. A Orbus-7S (LEO-7) motor acts as second stage and a Star-30BP (Spark-30) or an Orbus-1 (LEO-1) as third stage. It is spin and fin stabilized during fist stage burn and has attitude control for the two upper stages. The low cost rocket will be launched from a rail launcher and can put a payload of 250 kg into a 400 km sun-synchronous orbit.
The Super Strypi vehicle will be launched from a rail-launcher at Barking Sands, Kauai (Pacific Missile Range Facility) towards the end of 2013.
Conceptual representation of a cluster of EDSN satellites illustrating their ability to communicate and share data as a network. Credit NASA
Super Strypi will be carrying a swarm of CubeSats, the Edison Demonstration of Smallsat Networks (EDSN). The CubeSats are an unusual size of 10 by 10 by 15 cm (1.5U) and weigh 2 kg. The EDSN swarm will demonstrate distributed, multipoint space weather measurement and are expected to operate for at least 60 days and have an orbit life-time of up to 4 years.