Tyvak Nanosatellite Systems chosen to ride ULA Atlas as part of ‘RideShare’
Tyvak Nanosatellite Systems, Inc., a subsidiary of Terran Orbital Corporation, announced this week that it had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Colorado-based United Launch Alliance (ULA) to serve as the primary Auxiliary Payload Customer on the CubeSat Rideshare Initiative.
ULA’s CubeSat Rideshare Initiative, as the name implies, provides organizations to send their payloads aloft on flights of the robust Atlas V family of boosters. With wide enough margins come the ability to send smaller secondary payloads into orbit.
These efforts are slated to take place on Atlas V launches that will take place on December 31, 2019.
“The first milestone would be the release of application to the STEM community – US colleges/universities,” ULA’s Jessica Rye told SpaceFlight Insider. “The APIC is a company that specializes in providing mission integration and launch services for the rideshare community. By working with our APIC, Tyvak, ULA will leverage its capabilities and increase the satisfaction of the CubeSat customer.”
For their part, representatives with Tyvak expressed enthusiasm for the effort to have small satellites, with a focus on education, scientific research, U.S. Government and commercial business efforts fly on the Atlas booster.
“Tyvak is thrilled to have been selected for this opportunity with a world-class launch provider like ULA,” said Tyvak President and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Previte. “This MOU brings key opportunities to Tyvak and to the entire nanosatellite community.”
“As America’s ride to space, ULA is transforming rideshares so that customers will now have predictable manifest slots for their payloads,” said Tory Bruno, ULA president and CEO. “We are driving innovations like this program which will make space more affordable and accessible for all manner and size of payload customers.”
Whereas the public has become somewhat familiar with traditional satellites, CubeSats are much smaller than their cousins, owing to the miniaturization of the technologies that they operate on – and the desire to lower the cost of sending payloads into orbit. CubeSats can be composed of one, or possibly more units, each called U’s, and measure approximately 10cm x 10cm x 10cm with a mass of about 2.9 lbs. (1.33 kilograms).
Through this agreement, Tyvak is responsible for providing orbital access to commercial and U.S. Government CubeSat customers. In terms of students and others seeking to test out their CubeSats in space, this effort provides no-cost access for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) CubeSat customers.
Besides providing three STEM CubeSat slots, at no additional cost for education customers, Tyvak must also identify, obtain, and integrate these miniature spacecraft onto the Atlas V booster.
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.