US: The U.S. Space agency, NASA is ready with its Space Launch System rocket that will carry 13 CubeSats in its first flight. The thought behind the launch is to test innovative ideas along with an uncrewed Orion spacecraft in 2018. It is believed that the first flight of SLS will open a window of opportunity for small experiments such as this, in reaching deep space destinations, as most launch opportunities for CubeSats are limited to low-Earth orbit.
The small satellites secondary payloads will carry science and technology investigations to help pave the way for future human exploration in deep space, including the journey to Mars. The secondary payloads were selected through a series of announcements of flight opportunities, a NASA challenge and negotiations with NASA’s international partners.
“The 13 CubeSats that will fly to deep space as secondary payloads aboard SLS on EM-1 showcase the intersection of science and technology, and advance our journey to Mars,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman.
“The SLS is providing an incredible opportunity to conduct science missions and test key technologies beyond low-Earth orbit," said Bill Hill, deputy associate administrator for Exploration Systems Development at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This rocket has the unprecedented power to send Orion to deep space plus room to carry 13 small satellites – payloads that will advance our knowledge about deep space with minimal cost.”