Nasa Teaming with Cal Poly’s 12th CubeSat Launch A Success

Cal Poly’s 12th CubeSat successfully took off on Sunday from the Mojave Air and Space Port in southern California. The launch was scheduled for Wednesday but was rescheduled to Sunday.

Cal Poly teamed up with Nasa and nine other university teams across the nation to advance a small satellite approximately the size of a loaf of bread, launched in space on 16, January 2021, Sunday had a successful takeoff. 

The CubeSat is one of 10 small satellites NASA will include in its next Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) mission. 

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit was the one to board ride the Cubesat since the first demonstration flight of its air-launch rocket system failed, the company said. 

Cosmic Girl (Boeing 747)
Cosmic Girl (Boeing 747)

The Virgin Orbits rocket was carried by a modified Boeing 747 nicknamed Cosmic Girl to 35,000 feet before being released and fired into orbit. The two-stage rocket carried several small clusters of satellites. 

The launch initiated after the Boeing 747-400 took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in the desert north of Los Angeles departed over the Pacific Ocean to drop zone over the Channel Islands. This is the same location that hosted the first Launch mission in May 2020.

Virgin Orbit had failed its first attempt to reach space since the LauncherOne’s main engine was shut down prematurely moments after releasing from its career aircraft. Hence the Sunday’s test could make the company to achieve a commercial space race by offering a rare “air launch” method of sending satellites to orbit. Previously the same kind of launches been done by Rocket Lab and Firefly Aerospace, which designed small-launch systems to inject nanosatellites into orbit and meet growing demand. 

In Demo2 Nasa procured the launch under the Venture Class Launch Service Program.

Gavin Newsom former late governor of California commented for the successful mission- “Congratulation to “Virgin Orbit”– an amazing from the coast of the most innovative state in the world, CA!”

What is CubeSats?

CubeSats are miniature satellites that are used in low earth orbit and now also used for interplanetary missions as well. Its design was first proposed in the late 1990s by two professors Jordi Puig-Suari of California Polytechnic State University and Bob Twiggs of Stanford University.