Nanoracks Payload Launches

NanoRacks - Payload Launch Opportunities

Post Series: CubeSat Launches

Focusing almost exclusively on launching small payloads and CubeSats for private clients, NanoRacks became the first launch provider that could launch small payloads from the International Space Station

NanoRacks achieves this by deploying commercial payloads through the airlock in the Japanese KIBO module as from October of 2013, by using the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD).

Upon launch from the airlock, CubeSats receive an initial velocity of around 1 meter per second (3.3 ft/s), which is sufficient to ensure a safe separation from the ISS.

A proprietary launcher, the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer, was delivered to the ISS with the Cygnus Orb-1 Mission early in 2014, and this deployment system was the first commercial platform from which small, privately funded satellites could be launched from the ISS. However, a second launch platform, the NanoRacks External Payload Platform (NREP), was successfully delivered to the ISS on August 15th, 2015, during the fifth successful flight of the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV).

With the capacity to house as many as 9 4U CubeSats outside of the ISS, the NanoRacks External Payload Platform is expected to be fully operational sometime in 2016, and the expected duration of the average stay of a CubeSat aboard the platform is about 15 weeks.

Through successful and productive partnerships with organizations such as SSEP and Valley Christian High School, NanoRacks has helped to launch several dozen student-designed experiments into space, thus exposing thousands of high-school students to the space research experience by means of “world-class, low-cost access to commercial research platforms in suborbital and low-Earth orbit.”