NASA is seeking proposals for small satellite payloads to fly on rockets planned to launch between 2012 and 2014. These miniature spacecraft, known as CubeSats, could be auxiliary payload on previously planned missions.
CubeSats are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The cube-shaped satellites are approximately four inches long, have a volume of about one quart and weigh less than three pounds.
Proposed CubeSat investigations must be consistent with NASA’s Strategic Plan and the Education Strategic Coordination Framework. The research should address aspects of science, exploration, technology development, education or operations.
Applicants must submit proposals electronically by 4:30 p.m. EST on Nov. 14. NASA will select the payloads by Jan. 30, 2012. Selection does not guarantee a launch opportunity. The selected spacecraft will be eligible for flight after final negotiations when a launch opportunity arises. NASA will not provide funding for the development of the small satellites.
NASA recently announced the results from the second round of the CubeSat Launch Initiative. From the first two launch initiatives, 32 payloads made the short-list for launch opportunities in 2011 and 2012. They are eligible for launch pending an appropriate opportunity and final negotiations. The satellites come from 18 states: Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah and Virginia.