Satellite cannon starts shooting Doves, this time under control

ISS cubesat-launcher relaxes and gets to work


The nano-sat launcher aboard the International Space Station has stopped malfunctioning and started spitting its payload into space as intended.

The NanoRacks deployment was due last year, but was interrupted when it started launching its 6kg Planet Labs Doves satellites without instructions.

The fault was traced to over-tightened screws in the dispenser. Repair hardware was delivered to the ISS in January, including secondary latches for the deployers to close them in case of malfunction, and after repairs, the launcher was cleared to return to service.

Late last week, NanoRacks started launching the “flock of Doves” under astronaut control, much to the relief of the company.

@NASA_Astronauts posted the images below of the laucher in action.

Ten of the satellites in the current mission were from the original Flock-1B that were carried to the ISS on Orb-2, and another two come from the Flock-1D shipment carried on a SpaceX CRS-5 mission.

The deployment will continue until March 5.

The Doves cube satellites are an Earth-sensing mission. They follow a 90-minute orbit, and are designed to scan the Earth with 3-5 meter resolution cameras. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • AI to help study first images from James Webb Space Telescope
    To find dark matter and early galaxies, Morpheus could be The One

    Scientists around the world are gearing up to study the first images taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, which are to be released on July 12.

    Some astronomers will be running machine-learning algorithms on the data to detect and classify galaxies in deep space at a level of detail never seen before. Brant Robertson, an astrophysics professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in the US believes the telescope's snaps will lead to breakthroughs that will help us better understand how the universe formed some 13.7 billion years ago.

    "The JWST data is exciting because it gives us an unprecedented window on the infrared universe, with a resolution that we've only dreamed about until now," he told The Register. Robertson helped develop Morpheus, a machine-learning model trained to pore over pixels and pick out blurry blob-shaped objects from the deep abyss of space and determine whether these structures are galaxies or not, and if so, of what type.

    Continue reading
  • Meteoroid hits main mirror on James Webb Space Telescope
    Impact at the end of May bad enough to garble data, but NASA isn't worried

    The James Webb Space Telescope has barely had a chance to get to work, and it's already taken a micrometeoroid to its sensitive primary mirror.

    The NASA-built space observatory reached its final destination, the L2 orbit, a million miles away from Earth, at the end of January.

    In a statement, NASA said the impact happened some time at the end of May. Despite the impact being larger than any that NASA modeled and "beyond what the team could have tested on the ground," the space agency said the telescope continues to perform at higher-than-expected levels. The telescope has been hit on four previous occasions since launch.

    Continue reading
  • Starlink's success in Ukraine amplifies interest in anti-satellite weapons
    US think tank sees growing interest in counterspace capabilities

    In a report published earlier this week, the Secure World Foundation, a space-oriented NGO, warned that in the past few years there's been a surge of interest in offensive counterspace weapons that can disrupt space-based services.

    "The existence of counterspace capabilities is not new, but the circumstances surrounding them are," the report [PDF] says. "Today there are increased incentives for development, and potential use, of offensive counterspace capabilities."

    "There are also greater potential consequences from their widespread use that could have global repercussions well beyond the military, as huge parts of the global economy and society are increasingly reliant on space applications."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022