Nano cubesat deployed

Small Payloads

Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is facilitating the growing interest in small satellite payload options through the Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa).  This program provide opportunities on rockets planned for upcoming launches.

How big is a Cubesat?

  • Cubesats are designed in standard units 10x10x10 cm (about 4 inches cubed)
  • Cubesats can be built as a single unit or combined into units of 2u, 3u, or 6u
  • Each single unit must weigh less than 1.33 kg, or 3lbs.

Drawing on hands-on experience with the integration of payloads for missions in space, and on experience with small-scale flight tests (balloon and suborbital),  the team can provide the following services:

  • Rapid prototyping support to handle the space launch environment
  • Modeling and design visualization
  • Material and parts selection
  • CubeSat fabrication and assembly
  • Testing services to simulate the space/launch environment (e.g., thermal cycling, vibration)

Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa)

The CubeSat Launch Initiative provides access to space for CubeSats developed by NASA centers, accredited educational institutions and non-profit organizations, giving CubeSat developers access to a low-cost pathway to conduct research in the areas of science, exploration, technology development, education or operations consistent with NASA’s Strategic Plan.  ELaNa Missions, managed by Launch Services Program (LSP) at KSC, launch the selected CubeSats selected through CSLI into space. The ELaNA mission managers and their team reach students by introducing educational spaceflight in schools and colleges across the United States through the preparation of payloads that are flown in space. ELaNa missions are the first educational cargo to be carried on expendable launch vehicles for the LSP.

ELaNa manifests and coordinates the integration of the chosen missions. Students are heavily involved in all aspects of the mission from developing, assembling, and testing payloads to working with NASA and the launch vehicle integration teams. The ELaNa CubeSats are held to rigorous standards similar to that of the primary spacecraft.

On the day of launch, the tiny satellites are deployed one after another from a CubeSat dispenser designed and built specifically to launch the nanosatellites. 

For more information on this program, visit: Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa)