The NG-15 Cygnus spacecraft docked with the International Space Station (ISS), carrying two CubeSat in the Cygnus Nanoracks external deployment (E-NRCSD). Cygnus arrived on the ISS after launch with the Wallops Flight Facility Pad 0A on February 22, 2021 at 17:36 UTC. In celebration of Black History Month, NG-15 Cygnus was named in honor of Katherine Johnson, a NASA mathematician who played a vital role in the early missions of space flight.
This launch is the ninth Nanoracks mission to provide opportunities to deploy CubeSat from Cygnus. CubeSats on board today’s launch, IT-SPINS and MySat-2 (DhabiSat), were built by students and researchers from Montana State University and Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi.
Cygnus will remain on the ISS for several weeks to meet its primary scientific and technological goals. After Cygnus launches from the ISS, it rises to a higher altitude, where the E-NRCSD launches CubeSats into orbit.
IT-SPINS CubeSat was selected to launch by NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) as part of the nanosatellite-33 (ELaNa-33) educational launch, sponsored by NASA’s Service Launch Program (LSP).
MySat-2 (DhabiSat) is the second CubeSat built by Khalifa University and launched by Nanoracks. MySat-1 was deployed from the NG-10 Cygnus spacecraft in February 2019. These small satellites allow students to design, implement and test software modules for positioning and control systems.
“It is an incredible achievement to build and launch a satellite. It’s even more amazing that these CubeSat teams were able to do it at a time when working together was never harder, “said Nanoracks mission manager Jake Cornish. “COVID-19 made us reconsider how to perform normal tasks, so these people have achieved something very special. We are extremely proud to be working with groups that are continuously pushing the boundaries of what is possible and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next. ”
Nanoracks would like to thank Northrop Grumman and NASA’s International Space Station program for their continued support of Nanoracks’ operations on the ISS and across low-Earth orbit.