Coach Class to Orbit: the NPS CubeSat Launcher
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To meet the challenge of improving CubeSat access to space, a team of graduate students at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) is developing the NPS CubeSat Launcher (NPSCuL). NPSCuL is an enabling technology that seeks to utilize excess capacity on US launch vehicles to provide CubeSat developers with routine, high capacity, low-cost access to space. The launcher currently integrates eight Cal Poly Poly-Picosatellite Orbital Deployers (P-PODs) with a deployment sequencer in a simple structure. NPSCuL will be able to accommodate up to twenty four units of CubeSat volume on a single launch using only one ESPA-class payload interface. This capability has the potential to advance US space technology and ensure that the next generation of US space professionals will remain on the cutting edge of very small satellite development. A flight-qualified NPSCuL is expected to be complete in late 2009 with a potential launch as early as August of 2010. NPSCuL provides “coach-class-to-orbit:” a high-capacity, low-cost way to deliver CubeSats to space that is consistent with US launch capability, the CubeSat specification, the needs of the growing CubeSat community, and US national interests.
Publication: AIAA/USU Conference on Small SatellitesSession X: The Smaller Elements
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