NASA’s New Space Launch Of Nanosatellites

The US space agency NASA is planning to launch its Space Launch System (SLS) into orbit to try out a series of science experiments above a low orbit around the Earth. It will include sending nanosatellites into space. The SLS is NASA’s heavy-lift launch rocket that is the biggest and strongest rocket booster system they have ever built. The SLS recently completed a series of successful ground operations, so now it’s ready for its next adventure to try out its space proficiencies. Hopefully, this system will be able to save money by carrying things like cargo, gear, and other items into space at lower costs.

This first mission of the SLS will serve to launch nano satellites into space where they will travel around the Earth. Nanosatellites are miniature versions of regular satellites about the size of a box of shoes and weigh in at only about 30 pounds. These nanosatellites are cheaper since they are smaller and many can be sent up at once. There are 11 slated to go up with this first launch.

NASA's New Space Launch Of Nanosatellites - Clapway

The nanosatellites would be placed inside an Orion spacecraft in the ring that connects the craft to the SLS’s propulsion stage and be deployed once the Orion craft gets clear of Earth’s gravity. The Orion will then continue on to orbit around the moon.

Three experiments are already in the works for the first launch of the SLS, the date for which hasn’t been announced yet, but is expected to be in 2017. These experiments will be: Near Earth Asteroid Scout, the Bio Sentinel (the first time in 40 years for living organisms to go into space) and a Lunar Flashlight. The first and last one come from Marshall engineering teams and the other is contributed by the NASA Ames Research Center.

NASA's New Space Launch Of Nanosatellites - Clapway

Here is how the experiments are planned to operate…

Near-Earth Asteroid Scout – This experiment involves checking out an asteroid via the use of an 85-meter solar space sail as power. This nano-satellite will travel past the asteroid and take photos, as well as note its shape, size, position, and other properties.

Bio Sentinel – This experiment has an 18-month mission and will be carrying living yeast into deep space radiation areas. The yeast will be checked to see how such an environment affects living matter. It is hoped it will help in designing future radiation protection for astronauts.

Lunar Flashlight – This experiment involves several passes as it carries out its adventure around the moon via a solar sail for power. It will travel to look for and measure any surface water ice, create a map of the concentration of these and the info will be used to show if the area if useful for collection of water. It is called in-situ resource using and is used in exploration to potentially collect the ice and break it down into other components humans need like oxygen, water, etc.

The SLS will travel with these and other nano-satellites, along with other experiments in its payload with a launch possible sometime within the next year or two, according to officials at NASA.

Beautiful time-lapse with stunning visuals of the Milky Way space from little old Earth: