A cubesat is a special category of nanosatellite. One cubesat unit (1U) has dimensions of 10 by 10 by 11 centimeters. Cubesats have been built in 1U, 1.5U, 2U, 3U and 6U sizes. Beginning in early October and running through February 2016, launches are scheduled for six small spacecraft missions for which development and implementation were sponsored and funded by the SSTP. These satellites will demonstrate a number of technologies ranging from high-speed optical communications to increase downlink rates from small satellites, autonomous coordination among a swarm of small satellites, and formation flight and docking.
Author/Origin: William Keeter, DMI/NASA