NanoAvionics to Supply Nanosatellite Bus for NASA Solar Sail Demo

NASA has tapped NanoAvionics to create a 12U nanosatellite bus that will work to support the in-orbit test of the Advanced Composite Solar Sail System.

The company said Wednesday it will provide a FlatSat model and a testbed unit to allow Ames Research Center to conduct mechanical and payload integration tests remotely.

NanoAvionics will also field a team of engineers to support the operations, tests and integration of the satellite as part of the agreement.

Brent Abbott, CEO at NanoAvionics’ North America segment, said the demonstration marks NASA’s initial in-orbit test for the solar sail’s deployment systems and composite booms.

“It will guide the development of a next-generation nanosatellites with solar sail propulsion system for small interplanetary spacecraft,” Abbott added.

The demonstration is a part of a contract between NASA and AST & Science to ferry cargo into low-Earth orbit. AST secured a controlling interest in NanoAvionics in 2018 in efforts to expand production capacities within the U.S. and Europe.

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