Last three Cubesats for SLS unveiled !

Space Launch System, first modern American rocket able to lift payload beyond Earth orbit, will deliver during its maiden flight piggyback payload consisted of 13 Cubesat satellites. Ten places are booked by spacecrafts designed in USA, three places were provided for international partners. Now we know who won chance for putting Cubesat satellite into deep space.

Origins of Space Launch System (SLS) dates for 2011, when President's Obama administration decided about cancelling Constellation project, one of the flagships of George W. Bush administration plan called Vision for Space Exploration. NASA after decision of Barack Obama's administration started developing new rocket able to be used for Moon and even Mars missions combined with Orion spacecraft (which was part of the Vision for Space Exploration and was not cancelled). First unmanned flight (EM-1 - Exploration Mission-1 with 14 days duration and 6 days pass on retrograde Moon orbit) of Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and SLS rocket is planned on 2018 and first manned mission EM-2 for 2023.  During maiden flight (EM-1) NASA planned unmanned flight of Orion spacecraft along with 13 Cubesat satellites inside Orion Stage Adapter installed between Orion and Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage. These spacecrafts will be deployed in deep space far beyond LEO, where usually Cubesats satellites are placed. Ten Cubesats were selected previously (You can read more here) but last tree places were still free. NASA announced on May 26, 2016 which spacecrafts will fly in 2018; winners are two Cubesats developed by JAXA (Japan) and one by ASI (Italy).

Two Cubesats by JAXA are EQUULEUS and OMOTENASHI research spacecrafts; both designed by JAXA and University of Tokyo. First one, EQUilibriUm Lunar-Earth point 6U Spacecraft, will perform measurements of radiation around the Earth. It will be performed by imaging plasmasphere and monitoring plasma fluctuation around Earth. Results of research will help in development new technologies of protection from space radiation useful during deep space unmanned and manned missions; satellite will also help in improving control systems for small spacecrafts with missions planned  in space between Earth and Moon. Mission of the ONOMETASHI satellite will be devoted to developing new technologies which could be useful for small sized satellites performing different research on Moon surface.

Italian proposition for last free place during EM-1 was built jointly by ASI and Argotec Company ArgoMoon satellite. Proposition was officially accepted by ESA and should be considered as both EAS and ASI contribution in EM-1 (of course in spite of NASA-ESA cooperation during developing Orion spacecraft). Satellite will be part of experiment on behavior of spacecrafts operating close to Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS is propulsion module which will put Orion onto lunar trajectory). ArgoMoon will also serve as imaging spacecraft providing data and recordings from deploying other satellites placed in SLS, along with general testing optical communication between satellite and Earth. Optical communication is important part of the future deep space exploration as reliable and quick way of communicating from Mars to Earth.

Congratulations JAXA & ASI!

On picture above: Artist's vision of the SLS during liftoff.

Sources:
http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/international-partners-provide-cubesats-for-sls-maiden-flight

On picture above: Artist's vision of the SLS during liftoff.

Sources:
http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/international-partners-provide-cubesats-for-sls-maiden-flight