Sounding Rocket Launch Slated for SMART Satellite

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A new microsatellite designed to give scientists less-expensive access to space will make its debut aboard a suborbital sounding rocket scheduled to launch June 9 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The launch will not place the satellite in orbit.

The Small Rocket/Spacecraft Technology (SMART) microsatellite platform was created by engineers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and the Pentagon’s Operationally Responsive Space Office at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., to provide faster, less-expensive access to space. Its modular, reconfigurable design will allow the SMART platform to be used for a variety of missions, ranging from optical imaging to radio frequency applications, NASA said in a May 26 press release announcing the test flight.

Measuring 40 centimeters in diameter, SMART was designed to be integrated and made ready for launch in as few as seven days for less than $1 million.

The June 9 test flight, which is geared toward testing a variety of on-board technologies, will take place atop a NASA Terrier-Improved Orion sounding rocket.