New Initiative Begins Will Launch Small Satellites
NASA is announcing a new initiative
to launch small cube-shaped satellites for education and
not-for-profit organizations. CubeSats are a class of research
spacecraft called picosatellites, having a size of approximately
four inches, a volume of about one quart, and weighing no more than
This is NASA's first open announcement to create an
agency-prioritized list of available CubeSats. They are planned as
auxiliary payloads on launch vehicles already planned for 2011 and
"We're anticipating some exciting proposals for this pilot
program with hopes to break down the barriers to the launching of
CubeSats," said Jason Crusan, chief technologist for NASA's Space
Operations Mission Directorate in Washington. "There are
organizations that have been waiting a long time for a chance to
see their satellites fly in space."
Proposed CubeSat payloads must be the result of development
efforts conducted under existing NASA-supported activities.
Investigations proposed for this pilot project must address an
aspect of science, exploration, technology development, education
or operations encompassed by NASA's strategic goals and outcomes as
identified in the NASA Strategic Plan and/or NASA's Education
Strategic Coordination Framework.
Collaborators will be required to provide partial reimbursement
of approximately $30,000 per CubeSat. NASA will not provide funding
to support CubeSat activity or development. Selection does not
guarantee an availability of a launch opportunity.
Proposals must be submitted electronically and be received by
4:30 p.m. EDT April 15. Submissions will be evaluated by NASA
personnel. Selection is anticipated by June 30.