NanoRacks LLC of Houston said Nov. 20 that it will has been selected by crowd-funded startup ArduSat to coordinate deployment of the not-for-profit entity’s first two small satellites from the international space station. The agreement follows the Oct. 4 deployment of five cubesats from the Japanese Kibo module.
The ArduSat project started in April with the aim of giving private citizens affordable opportunities to participate in space missions. The organization raised enough support from private citizens via the Kickstarter crowdfunding website to fund development of the first satellite, a single-unit cubesat measuring 10 centimeters on a side and carrying roughly 20 sensors, including an optical spectrometer. Depending on their level of sponsorship, users of the satellite will be able to design their own experiments, applications and games for the satellite using the ArduSat’s open-source prototyping platform and then upload their programs to gather data in space, the organization said in a press release.
The satellite will be delivered to the space station under a Space Act Agreement between NanoRacks and NASA and ultimately deployed using a small-satellite orbital deployer developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. NanoRacks said it expects the first ArduSat to be deployed in 2013.