Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne system undergoes final preparations on a taxiway at Mojave Air and Space Port ahead of the company’s Launch Demo 2 mission. Taken in late December 2020. Photo: Virgin Orbit/Greg Robinson.
Today at approximately 3:35 p.m. ET (12:35 p.m. PT), 10 CubeSats began deploying from Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne Rocket into low-Earth Orbit as part of the Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) 20 mission. Virgin Orbit’s 747-00 carrier, Cosmic Girl, took off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California at 1:38 p.m. ET (10:38 a.m. PT) today carrying the LauncherOne Rocket and the 10 small research satellites.
CubeSats are a cornerstone in the development of cutting-edge technologies like laser communications, satellite-to-satellite communications, and autonomous movement. The nine CubeSat missions in this launch were developed by the following universities and one NASA center:
CACTUS-1 – Capitol Technology University, Laurel, Md.
CAPE-3 – University of Louisiana at Lafayette
EXOCUBE – California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
MiTEE – University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.
PICS (two CubeSats) – Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
PolarCube – University of Colorado at Boulder
Q-PACE – University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla.
RadFXSat-2 – Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.
TechEdSat-7 – NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
CSLI is an initiative created by NASA to attract and retain students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. Missions are selected through the CubeSat Launch Initiative and managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Visit our website to learn more and follow us on Twitter at NASA_LSP and Facebook at NASA LSP.