Kennedy Space Center NextGen Website

Small Launch


  • Edgar Zapata, NASA KSC, "Nano-Launcher Technologies, Approaches, and Life Cycle Assessment, Phase II," October 16, 2014.
    • Affordability and flight rate goals require a combination of improvements in technology, design and best practice/commercial practices
      • No silver bullets
    • Relatively small increases in scale yield significantly more payload and revenue
    • Competitive, dedicated, ground launch, nano/small launch is fully plausible

Recent US Launch Price Contracts 2012-2017


  • [Paper] [Presentation] Edgar Zapata, Carey McCleskey, John Martin, Roger Lepsch, Tosoc Hernani, "Life Cycle Analysis of Dedicated Nano-Launch Technologies," Commercial and Government Responsive Access to Space Technology Exchange (CRASTE), June 23-27, 2014.
"Recent technology advancements have enabled the development of small cheap satellites that can perform useful functions in the space environment. Currently, the only low cost option for getting these payloads into orbit is through ride share programs - small satellites awaiting the launch of a larger satellite, and then riding along on the same launcher. As a result, these small satellite customers await primary payload launches and a backlog exists. An alternative option would be dedicated nano-launch systems built and operated to provide more flexible launch services, higher availability, and affordable prices. The potential customer base that would drive requirements or support a business case includes commercial, academia, civil government and defense. Further, NASA technology investments could enable these alternative game changing options."