NASA Awards CubeSat-class Launch Contract
NASA has awarded its first CubeSat-class launch services contract. It has selected Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc of Atlanta to provide a CubeSat-class launch via a NASA Launch Services Enabling eXploration and Technology (NEXT)contract. The launch will take place in 2016 from Jacksonville, Florida.
NEXT is an element of a strategic initiative led by NASA’s Launch Services Program that is focused on assuring long-term launch services while also promoting the continued evolution of the US commercial space launch market. The NEXT launch service will place three 3U-configuration CubeSats into a 264 mile orbit via a Federal Aviation Administration-licensed launch aboard Generation Orbit’s GOLauncher 2 rocket in August 2016 from Cecil Field Spaceport in Jacksonville.
GOLauncher 2 will launch CubeSats as the primary payload via the NEXT contract due to their ability to tolerate the higher risk of a new nano-class rocket while also helping to provide additional opportunities for the many CubeSats awaiting launch opportunities under NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative. — NASA via AMSAT News Service