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MM Blog: NASA's Nanosatellite Strategy

NASA’s megarocket set to launch nanosatellites beyond the moon.

NASA’s Space Launch System promises to be the most powerful rocket developed by the agency since the Saturn V. According to Scientific American, the 323-foot-tall SLS will have 23 percent more thrust, which will be necessary for the rocket’s eventual mission of carrying humans toward deep-space. But before humans climb aboard, the SLS’s maiden launch in 2018 will send 13 nanosatellites outside of low-Earth orbit. 

After the satellites are deployed, their transmitters will turn on and their individual missions will begin. For example, one CubeSat nanosatellite will map hydrogen within moon craters, while another will scout and photograph a nearby asteroid. Three CubeSat slots are reserved for international partners, and another three for winners of a NASA competition.

This launch will mark the farthest journey yet for the relatively low-cost nanosatellites.


What do you think the CubeSats should study in deep space? Could this tiny technology replace manned missions?

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