CubeSats Current Affairs - 2019

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NASA unveils schedule for ‘Artemis’ 2024 Mission

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of United States (US) has unveiled the calendar for its forthcoming “Artemis” program.

Key Highlights

  • Artemis Program: The mission will return astronauts to Moon for first time in past 50 years, including eight scheduled launches and a mini-station in lunar orbit by 2024.
  • The schedule for Artemis Programme is as follows:
  • Artemis 1: It is planned for 2020. It will be an uncrewed flight test mission around Moon. It will demonstrate NASA’s capability of sending crew spaceship to lunar orbit ahead of its return to surface of Moon.
  • After Artemis 1, NASA is also targeting 2020 for launch of its powerful Space Launch System (SLS, rocket that will do the job) and Orion spacecraft (which will carry astronauts) together for the first time from a modernized Kennedy Space Center in Florida, US. The SLS will also deploy a number of CubeSats to perform experiments and technology demonstrations.
  • Artemis 2: is the next mission planned for 2022. It will orbit Earth’s satellite (moon) and will fly a different path than first test flight. It will be a crewed mission and around Moon for first time in 50 years.
  • Artemis 3: will follow Artemis 2. This is the ‘Artemis’ 2024 Moon mission which will return astronauts to lunar surface by year 2024, including first woman and the next man. So far only 12 humans (all American male) have walked on Moon.
  • All three missions will be launched into space by biggest rocket of all time, the Boeing-led Space Launch System (SLS). It is currently under development but has seen numerous delays and is being criticized by some as a bloated jobs program.

About Lunar Gateway

  • NASA and its fellow partners are designing and developing, a small spaceship in orbit around Moon for astronauts and science and technology (S&T) demonstrations, it is known as ‘The Lunar Gateway’. It is located about 250,000 miles from Earth.
  • The Gateway will enable access to entire surface of Moon and will provide new opportunities in deep space for exploration. It’s also a stop-over for missions to Mars.

About Artemis Mission

  • ARTEMIS is abbreviation for Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of Moon’s Interaction with the Sun. It is NASA’s next mission to Moon.
  • It is named Artemis after Greek mythological Goddess of Moon and also twin sister to Apollo (the namesake of Apollo program which sent 12 American astronauts to Moon between 1969 and 1972).
  • Objective: It consists of a spacecraft to measure what happens when Sun’s radiation hits our rocky moon, where there is no magnetic field to protect it.
  • Benefits: Artemis mission uses two out of five in-orbit spacecraft from another NASA Heliophysics constellation of satellites called The Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms i.e. “THEMIS”. The NASA’s THEMIS mission began in 2007 and was successfully completed in 2010. The Artemis mission thus allows NASA to repurpose its two in-orbit spacecraft and to extend their useful science mission, saving millions of taxpayer dollars instead of building and launching new spacecraft.
  • Significance: After a successful Artemis mission, NASA will be able to establish a sustainable human presence on Moon by 2028 which will further help it to uncover new scientific discoveries, demonstrate new technological advancements, and lay foundation for private companies to build a lunar economy.

Month: Categories: International


SpaceX successfully launches 64 small satellites using reusable Falcon 9 rocket

Elon Musk-led SpaceX has successfully launched 64 small satellites into low Earth orbit onboard of its reusable and preflown Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This has set new record in United States of launching satellites in single go. It was third voyage of Falcon 9 rocket, marking another milestone in SpaceX’s cost-cutting reusable rocket technology.

About Satellites

The 64 small satellites included 49 CubeSats and 15 micro-satellites belonging to 34 different clients including public, private and university sources from 17 different countries across the world including South Korea, France and Kazakhstan. The microsatellites weighed few dozen kilograms and CubeSats weighed even smaller. Among launched satellites, one was sculpture called “Orbital Reflector” by artist Trevor Paglen, sent by Nevada Museum of Art and it was not scientific missions.


Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) holds record for the most satellite launch in single flight. It had launched 104 satellites in one go using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C37) rocket.

Space X

It is private US space agency. It was founded by Elon Musk on May 6, 2002 who is its current CEO of Space X. Its main purpose for its establishment was to reduce cost of space transport and establish human habitation on Mars house. Space X has developed series of Falcon Rockets. To reduce cost of internal transport, the space company has created re-usable rockets. Majority of these rockets are also used in other launches.

Month: Categories: National