Event Title

Getting CubeSat Missions to Orbit Over the Next Decade

Session

Pre-Conference: CubeSat Developers' Workshop

SSC13-WK-28.pdf (584 kB)
Presentation Slides

Abstract

Over the past few years there has been a renascence in the CubeSat community. This insurgence has led to the need to explore new and innovative ways to place these unique spacecraft on orbit. The NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative has selected over 90 CubeSat proposals as potential candidates for launches. To date, 12 of these missions have launched and 23 are manifested for flights in 2013; however this still leaves over 50 missions seeking a launch opportunity. So how do we accommodate these missions in the near future? We need to look at new and creative carries systems that can accommodate multiple structures. The NRO, in concert with ULA, developed the Aft Bulkhead Carrier (ABC) system. The ABC system allows for up to 8 P-PODs to be launched on one mission and was recently flight-proven on the Atlas V. This now provides CubeSats access to space on the Atlas V launch vehicle. SpaceX has successfully completed three Falcon 9 flights in support of the International Space Station (ISS) resupply mission. With additional flights scheduled for the future, NASA has now manifested P-PODs on some of these upcoming missions. The P-POD will be located in the second stage trunk section and after the Dragon is separated and on its way to ISS, the P-PODs will release their CubeSats. This configuration is good for F9 ISS missions but what do we do for do for Falcon 9 missions that have a spacecraft with a fairing? The NASA Launch Services Program is working with SpaceX to develop a system on the aft end of the second stage that will allow up to six 3U carriers and four 6U carrier systems. This will provide additional flexibility in securing launches for ELaNa CubeSats. When a CubeSat is assigned to the mission it is classified as a secondary payload and as such must meet a numerous stringent requirements to ensure the CubeSat or carrier system does not increase the risk to the primary mission or launch vehicle. This posture is acceptable for some CubeSats however it hinders the development of others in the creative search of new technologies. So how do we move forward? In addition to the work that is currently being performed to provide access to more launch vehicles, NASA is involved in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Nano/Micro Satellite Launch Vehicle Technology Sub Topic. The focus for this topic is a Nano/Micro Satellite Launch Vehicle (NMSLV) that will provide a new capability for small payload access to space. The primary objective is to develop a capability to place Nano and micro satellites weighing up to approximately 20 kilograms into a reference orbit, defined as circular, 400 to 450 kilometer altitude, from various inclinations ranging from 0 to 98 ° . The NMSLV is a commercial solution for a possible Nano and micro spacecraft launch vehicle to support the growing need for CubeSat launches.

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Aug 10th, 10:50 AM

Getting CubeSat Missions to Orbit Over the Next Decade

Over the past few years there has been a renascence in the CubeSat community. This insurgence has led to the need to explore new and innovative ways to place these unique spacecraft on orbit. The NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative has selected over 90 CubeSat proposals as potential candidates for launches. To date, 12 of these missions have launched and 23 are manifested for flights in 2013; however this still leaves over 50 missions seeking a launch opportunity. So how do we accommodate these missions in the near future? We need to look at new and creative carries systems that can accommodate multiple structures. The NRO, in concert with ULA, developed the Aft Bulkhead Carrier (ABC) system. The ABC system allows for up to 8 P-PODs to be launched on one mission and was recently flight-proven on the Atlas V. This now provides CubeSats access to space on the Atlas V launch vehicle. SpaceX has successfully completed three Falcon 9 flights in support of the International Space Station (ISS) resupply mission. With additional flights scheduled for the future, NASA has now manifested P-PODs on some of these upcoming missions. The P-POD will be located in the second stage trunk section and after the Dragon is separated and on its way to ISS, the P-PODs will release their CubeSats. This configuration is good for F9 ISS missions but what do we do for do for Falcon 9 missions that have a spacecraft with a fairing? The NASA Launch Services Program is working with SpaceX to develop a system on the aft end of the second stage that will allow up to six 3U carriers and four 6U carrier systems. This will provide additional flexibility in securing launches for ELaNa CubeSats. When a CubeSat is assigned to the mission it is classified as a secondary payload and as such must meet a numerous stringent requirements to ensure the CubeSat or carrier system does not increase the risk to the primary mission or launch vehicle. This posture is acceptable for some CubeSats however it hinders the development of others in the creative search of new technologies. So how do we move forward? In addition to the work that is currently being performed to provide access to more launch vehicles, NASA is involved in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Nano/Micro Satellite Launch Vehicle Technology Sub Topic. The focus for this topic is a Nano/Micro Satellite Launch Vehicle (NMSLV) that will provide a new capability for small payload access to space. The primary objective is to develop a capability to place Nano and micro satellites weighing up to approximately 20 kilograms into a reference orbit, defined as circular, 400 to 450 kilometer altitude, from various inclinations ranging from 0 to 98 ° . The NMSLV is a commercial solution for a possible Nano and micro spacecraft launch vehicle to support the growing need for CubeSat launches.