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NASA Selects Spaceflight’s Orbital Transfer Vehicle for CubeSat Launch Services


Spaceflight has received a contract from NASA to perform launch services in support of a mission led by The Aerospace Corp. under the space agency's CubeSat Launch Initiative. 

Spaceflight said Monday it will use its Sherpa-LTC orbital test vehicle to propel two Low-Latitude Ionosphere/Thermosphere Enhancements in Density cubesats to low-Earth orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.

The Sherpa-LTC will deploy the miniaturized satellites after completing initial spacecraft deployments and moving to another orbital destination. The OTV is equipped with Benchmark Space Systems-supplied chemical propulsion.

The Launch Services Program of NASA's Kennedy Space Center will be responsible for the liftoff at the end of the year.

The LLITED mission seeks to explore equatorial ionization and temperature as well as wind anomalies in the neutral atmosphere.

"By observing this altitude region more closely, scientists will gain a greater understanding of the degree of change in atmosphere density, which in turn affects the amount of drag satellites encounter, as well as reentry rates," said Rebecca Bishop, principal investigator for LLITED.

Spaceflight used its Sherpa-FX OTV to field 15 spacecraft from SpaceX's Falcon 9 Transporter-1 rocket in January.

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Written by Matthew Nelson

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