5 Cubesats Deployed from Space Station’s Kibo Airlock

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Five cubesats, including the student-built TechEdSat, were launched into orbit from the international space station’s Japanese module Oct. 4 using a new small-satellite deployment system recently delivered to the orbiting outpost.

Measuring 10 centimeters on a side and equipped with a ham radio transmitter, TechEdSat was developed by a group of student interns from California’s San Jose State University with mentoring and support from the staff at NASA’s nearby Ames Research Center. TechEdSat and four other cubesats, including Japan’s FITSat-1 optical communications experiment, arrived at the space station in late July aboard Japan’s H-2 Transfer Vehicle and was processed for launch by the Expedition 33 crew.

Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide loaded TechEdSat, FITSat-1 and the other cubesats into a new system called the Small Satellite Orbital Deployer that was subsequently placed into the Kibo module’s tiny airlock. Kibo’s robotic arm then grappled the deployment system and its satellites from the airlock for deployment.