November 19, 2013
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station launched three CubeSats early Nov. 19, using a deployment mechanism aboard the orbiting lab’s Kibo Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) that was successfully demonstrated last year.
A fourth satellite is scheduled for release early Nov. 20.
The first wave, ejected with the Small Satellite Orbital Satellite Deployer (SSOSD) from the Kibo exposed facility at 7:17 a.m. EST, included:
• Pico Dragon, a 1U CubeSat (10 by 10 by 10 cm) developed by the University of Tokyo, the Vietnam National Satellite Center and IHI Aerospace for Earth imaging.
• ArduSat-1 and ArduSat-X, developed by Nanoracks and NanoSatisfi under NASA sponsorship, for the technology validation of reprogramming deployed 1U satellites.
TechEdSat-3 is scheduled for deployment on Nov. 20 at 2:50 a.m. EST. The 3U (30 by 10 by 10 cm) satellite was developed by NASA’s Ames Research Center to validate an aero-braking mechanism called Exo Brake.
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata handled the first deployments after working with NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins to prepare the JEM’s experiment airlock and the SSOSD for operations.
“From the monitor it looks really beautiful,” Wakata advised JAXA flight controllers after the first three CubeSats sped away.
“Congratulations on a successful deployment,” the Japanese ground team responded.