Nanoracks Europe is on track to set a new record as the company prepares to deploy the first-ever 0.3U CubeSat from the International Space Station (ISS). The satellite, named FEES2, was developed by the Italian company GP Advanced Projects and is approximately the thickness of a cherry. It will be one of the smallest trackable objects deployed directly from the Space Station.
FEES2 (Flexible Experimental Embedded Satellite-2) is a platform for demonstrating and validating CubeSat technology in orbit. The mission will test critical satellite components, such as GPS receivers and attitude control systems that have specifically been designed for miniaturized experiments.
GP Advanced Projects (GPAP) selected Nanoracks Europe for the integration services, launch brokerage, and deployment of FEES2 in June 2021 to reach orbit quickly and efficiently. Nanoracks' proven business model provides flexible opportunities for its customers to demonstrate innovative technologies utilizing the ISS.
Guido Parissenti, CEO and co-founder of GPAP, remarked that "The ISS has been a sort of booster for our company's growth. Thanks to this deployment opportunity, which we contracted just five months ago, we will reach a major milestone towards the building of the first Italian nanosatellite constellation for IoT [Internet of Things], which is our long-term goal."
The miniaturization of space technologies is a trend that allows for broader participation in space research and for CubeSat developers to make progress more rapidly. Companies like GP Advanced Projects that are seeking to deploy small satellites might have had difficulties reaching orbit in the past due to funding or launch accommodations. This mission demonstrates that such deployments are not only possible but that they can also be completed in a very short amount of time.
To approve FEES2 for deployment from the ISS, Nanoracks performed a feasibility study with NASA to verify the satellite's trackability and quantify its deployment parameters. After careful evaluation, FEES2 was approved for integration into a Nanoracks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD). The satellite is now integrated into an NRCSD with several other CubeSats and is manifested on the 24th SpaceX Commercial Resupply (SpX CRS-24) mission to the ISS, which is planned to launch in December 2021.
"We were excited that GP Advanced Projects entrusted Nanoracks to get the job done," said Adriana Aiello, Systems Engineer for Nanoracks Europe. "Of course, we were going to make this happen for GP Advanced Projects - this is our specialty. Our customers' needs challenge us to be innovators and disruptors, and we're proud to bring a new customer and new technology to the Space Station."
"This is an absolutely exciting opportunity for Nanoracks Europe to make a difference in enabling wider access to space in our community," said Nanoracks Europe's CEO, Veronica La Regina. "Nanoracks' passion for opening space access is one of our greatest assets, and this mission proves to be yet another example of the tenacity for making new things happen."
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