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. ®

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