NASA Issues Three CubeSat Awards to Several Aerospace Firms

[Satellite TODAY 08-15-12] NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology Program has awarded contracts to three teams working on ways to exploit the advantages of CubeSats, the agency announced Aug. 14.

   NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory will share a $5.5 million award with Pumpkin Inc. for work on the Integrated Solar Array and Reflectarray Antenna (ISARA) project, which aims to increase the amount of data that a tiny satellite can transmit by turning its solar array into a reflector for the satellite’s communications antenna.
   Aerospace Corp. received a $3.6 million award for its project, titled “Integrated Optical Communications and Proximity Sensors for Cubesats.” The initiative involves a pair of CubeSats that will use lasers for communicating with the ground, as well as radar and optical sensors to help nanosatellites when maneuvering near one another.
   Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Applied Defense Solutions, Aerospace LLC and the California Polytechnic State University of San Luis Obispo received a joint $13.5 million award for the “Proximity Operations Nano-Satellite Flight Demonstration,” which will use two satellites to practice rendezvous and docking maneuvers in orbit. The two satellites are scheduled to fly in 2014 and 2015.
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