20 Cubesats Selected for NASA Piggyback Launches

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NASA on Feb. 8 announced the selection of 20 small satellites, known as cubesats, that will fly as auxiliary payloads aboard rockets slated to launch in 2011 and 2012.

The selected cubesats, chosen from the second round of the U.S. space agency’s CubeSat Launch Initiative, come from a high school in Virginia, universities across the United States, NASA field centers and Defense Department organizations, NASA said in a press release. Cubesats are a class of nanosatellites measuring 10 centimeters on a side and weighing approximately 1 kilogram.

Three university cubesats are slated to ride along with NASA’s Glory climate-monitoring satellite when it launches Feb. 23 aboard the Orbital Science Corp.’s Taurus XL rocket. A dozen more cubesats selected from the first round of the CubeSat Launch Initiative will have launch opportunities beginning later this year, NASA said.