United Launch Alliance launched its NROL-55 in support of national defense.
Thirteen CubeSats also launched aboard the Atlas V rocket aboard the NRO’s Government Rideshare Advanced Concepts Experience auxiliary payload.
“The view from a rocketcam looking down at the Vandenberg Air Force Base launch pad as the Atlas 5 roared aloft”. Nine of the space research satellites are sponsored by the NRO, while the other four are sponsored by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).
“NASA’s CubeSat launch initiative enables the launch of CubeSat projects designed, built and operated by students, teachers, faculty and government researchers”, said Steven Jurczyk, associate administrator of NASA’s space technology mission directorate.
Not much can be said about the secretive NROL-55 mission, which is classified. (2 kg) apiece, will also demonstrate software-defined radio communications, while the 3.3-lb. BisonSat, which will perform a variety of Earth observations. They’re used primarily for communications and tracking technology.
NASA is exploring if the small satellites, which typically weigh about 2.2 pounds (1 kg) and can be outfitted with cameras, sensors and other instruments, are suited for interplanetary missions and other space operations.
ARC-1, which weighs 2.2 lbs., was developed by the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
These CubeSats additionally incorporate the first to be planned, constructed and worked by understudies in Alaska and the first from Native American tribal undergrads.
The primary goal is “to interest our students in considering a career in the aerospace industry in the USA, either as an engineer or as a scientist, and to help address that national need of resupplying our workforce with talented people to keep the U.S.as a leader in this area”, BisonSat principal investigator Tim Olson, of Salish Kootenai College, said during Wednesday’s news briefing. Three CubeSats, known as SNaP-3, were created to test software-defined radios “for disadvantaged users in remote locations”, the NRO said in a web posting.
The Radio Amateur Satellite Corp., or AMSAT, provided the FOX-1 CubeSat created to enable amateurs around the world to communicate via satellite.