NASA has awarded a total ofÂ $3.6 million in grantsÂ to 10 mission concept studiesÂ that will useÂ small satellites to exploreÂ Venus, Earth’s moon, asteroids, Mars and outer planets.
The agency said Thursday awardees on the Planetary Science Deep Space SmallSat Studies program will use satellites that weigh less thanÂ 400 pounds while CubeSats will be built to standard specifications of approximately 4x4x4 inches.
Jim Green, director of theÂ planetary science division at NASA, saidÂ the studies seek toÂ inform the agency’sÂ future announcements of opportunity as well as efforts to develop small spacecraft technologies for deep space missions.
The space agency’s science mission directorate currentlyÂ develops a small satellite strategy that aims to with identify high-priority science objectives that can be supported byÂ CubeSats and SmallSats.
Recipients of the PSDS3 grants are:
- Anthony Colaprete, NASA Ames Research Center
- Benton Clark, Lockheed Martin’s space systems business unit
- Christophe Sotin, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
- David Minton, Purdue University
- Jeffrey Plescia, Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory
- Robert Ebert, Southwest Research Institute
- Suzanne Romaine, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
- Timothy Stubbs, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
- Valeria Cottini, University of Maryland