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NASA launches new microsatellite ‘FASTSAT’

FASTSAT was launched from Kodiak, Alaska. Photo: NASA

ALASKA (BNS): NASA has successfully launched the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite (FASTSAT) from its Kodiak Launch Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska.

The satellite was, launched at 1:25 am (GMT) Friday aboard a Minotaur IV rocket.

FASTSAT is a unique platform that can carry multiple small payloads to low-Earth orbit creating opportunities for researchers to conduct low-cost scientific and technology research on an autonomous satellite in space.

The satellite was separated from the Minotaur IV rocket approximately 22 minutes after launch, entering low-Earth orbit 406 miles above Earth and it immediately began powering up the spacecraft.

"This milestone is a testament to our FASTSAT team that worked tirelessly to design, build and test a fully functional, low-cost satellite in a year," Mark Boudreaux, FASTSAT project manager at the Marshall Center said.

“The team maximised the number of payloads onboard and designed the satellite to support the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Secondary Payload Adaptor (ESPA) ring to increase opportunities for ride sharing with Department of Defense ESPA configurable launch vehicles,” he added.

For the first 11 days after launch, the spacecraft and six onboard atmospheric and technology demonstration experiments will go through an on-orbit commissioning phase. Once commissioning is complete, the next 180 days will be focused on science operations.

Later, additional characterisation of the spacecraft will be performed to test additional flight objectives and overall abilities of the spacecraft for approx 100 days.

FASTSAT was developed with simplicity in the design of the spacecraft subsystems that provide power management, onboard storage of experiments data, control of experiments, communications with ground stations, propellantless mechanisms for attitude control and a GPS system for navigation.

FASTSAT launched on the STP-S26 mission -- a joint activity between NASA and the US Department of Defense Space Test Programme.


NASA  satellite  

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