Space Nation, the Finnish startup seeking to pave the way for the transition of humanity into space, announced plans May 16 conduct experiments on the international space station.
Elysium Space, the San Francisco startup that sends cremated remains into orbit, announced plans May 16 to launch its Elysium Star 2 memorial spacecraft on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rideshare mission later this year from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. If the rocket reaches orbit, it will be the firm’s first successful spaceflight.
The Canadian government will develop a radar instrument for NASA’s future Mars orbiter as well as 13 cubesats to be deployed from the International Space Station.
Phase Four LLC, a startup based in El Segundo, California, announced plans March 7 to conduct the first on-orbit demonstration of its plasma propulsion technology in late 2017.
Polish company SatRevolution S.A. has unveiled plans to set up the country’s first satellite production facility that is to make small spacecraft in cooperation with foreign space industry players.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle lifted off on schedule with its payload of 104 satellites, all but three of which were cubesats.
United Launch Alliance has pledged to carry as many as 24 cubesats on each launch of its Atlas 5 rocket beginning in mid-2017.
A California company announced plans Nov. 19 to develop a constellation of small remote sensing satellites, entering a field that has become increasingly crowded in the last year.
The first flight of an experimental launch system for small satellites ended in failure Nov. 3. The U.S. Air Force’s rail-launched Super Strypi rocket, packed with more than a dozen small satellites, roared toward the sky but failed less than a minute into the long-awaited flight.
Within NASA, the Heliophysics Division is leading the way when it comes to cubesats that yield useful scientific data. That is partly because the latest Heliophysics decadal, a 10-year science roadmap published in 2012, is much newer than those for the other three NASA science divisions.
NASA announced Oct. 14 that is awarding more than $17 million in contracts for dedicated launches of cubesats to three companies, none of whom have yet to place a single satellite into orbit.
In 2015, Spire plans to launch 20 triple cubesats. By the end of 2017, the company will have more than 100 satellites helping commercial customers forecast weather and track ships.
Measuring approximately 10 centimeters on a side and weighing around 1 kilogram, cubesats have gained popularity among small companies, universities and emerging countries. As cubesats’ use continues to grow, debris mitigation and avoidance regulations are also becoming progressively restrictive in order to avoid a degradation of space use among space industry operators.