Commercial companies Japan Manned Spacce Systems and Spaceflight have joined forces with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency on a new CubeSat project for JAXA’s upcoming Astro-H mission.
The new agreement sees JAMSS and Spaceflight making it possible for US commercial CubeSat operators to launch on JAXA’s H-IIA launch vehicle for the very first time ever. Spaceflight president Curt Blake expressed his excitement for being able to continue commercializing low Earth orbit alongside JAMSS. Blake praised the partnership, as JAMSS has been providing invaluable information on how to integrate and launch small CubeSats successfully with JAXA.
Eight 3U CubeSat satellites will be deployed for commercial customers under the new cooperative agreement. Spaceflight, which will liaison with CubeSat customers directly, are also busy integrating mission hardware to make it possible for the launch vehicle to deploy the satellites directly. Meanwhile, JAMSS spearheads the link between Spaceflight and JAXA, providing important expertise into how JAXA works and how its safety procedures need to be followed.
JAMSS president Toshikazu Koto echoed Blake’s words, expressing excitement in being able to support international customers through the Spaceflight collaboration. JAMSS has been under contract with JAXA for more than two decades, with the company supporting the ability of the International Space Station to be used and operated. JAMSS has also had a role in developing launch vehicles and satellites for JAXA, and Koto said that the technology used and created in the development of such programs gives it a unique perspective in continuing to contribute to its goal of commercializing space exploration.
The H-IIA launch vehicle, which is the primary spacecraft for the Astro-H mission, is on schedule to blast off into space sometime between April 1 of 2015 and March 31 of 2016. The H-IIA’s rideshare manifest has been completely booked as far as the number of small satellites it can bring up into orbit, and industry experts report that the mission management campaign has been successfully started as the launch window begins rapidly approaching.
In related news, US space agency NASA recently announced a new CubeSat Centennial Challenge for any commercial companies interested in researching and developing next-generation satellites with advanced capabilities.
This archive content was originally published November 29, 2014 (www.betawired.com)