NASA is seeking proposals for small satellite payloads to fly on rockets planned to launch between 2013 and 2016. These miniature spacecraft, known as CubeSats, could be auxiliary payloads on previously planned missions.
CubeSats are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. These 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 NASA education vision and goals. The research must address aspects of science, exploration, technology development, education or operations.
Applicants must submit proposals electronically by 4:30 p.m. EST, Nov. 12, 2012. NASA will select the payloads by Jan. 31, 2013. 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 third round of the CubeSat Launch Initiative. From the first three launch initiatives, 64 payloads made the short list for launch opportunities between 2011 and 2014. They are eligible for launch pending an appropriate opportunity and final negotiations. The satellites come from 25 states: Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia.