The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has unveiled a new set of opportunities via the agency’s CSLI (CubeSat Launch Initiative) for CubeSat developers, including educational institutions.
This initiative has been taken to carry out scientific research and technology demonstrations in space and support the agency’s exploration objectives.
Commenting on the move, Bradley Smith, Director of launch services at NASA, stated that small satellites like CubeSats play a significant role in the agency’s science, educational, and technology examinations, which include Earth observation, planetary exploration, and fundamental Earth and space science.
They create a foundation for developing groundbreaking NASA technologies like satellite-to-satellite communications, laser communications, and autonomous movement, he added.
With an increased emphasis on education, this next round of NASA’s CSLI will provide opportunities to access the low-Earth orbit for the U.S. educational institutions, NASA centers and programs for workforce development, and nonprofits with an education or outreach component.
With this initiative, the developers can get hands-on experience operating, building, and designing these small research satellites.
NASA has announced plans to start selections by March 17th, 2023, for flight opportunities in 2024-2027. It is imperative to note that selection, however, does not guarantee a launch opportunity.
Designs with restrictive orbital requirements may limit launch opportunities and delay launch dates. Moreover, applicants will be responsible for funding small satellites’ development.
CSLI promotes active participation from Minority Serving Institutions and organizations from the states that have not yet been selected. These states include Delaware, North Carolina, South Dakota, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Wyoming.
For the record, NASA has selected around 211 CubeSat missions, of which 148 have been successfully launched into space, with approximately 20 missions scheduled to be launched within the following year.
As per sources, the selected CubeSats include participants from 42 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and 102 unique corporations.