All posts tagged NanoRacks

July 14, 2014 – Seattle – Spaceflight Inc. and NanoRacks announced today that an additional 28 Planet Labs Dove CubeSats are en route to the International Space Station on the Orbital Sciences Cygnus Orb-2 Mission. The satellites were manifest via the NanoRacks Space Act Agreement with NASA, and are scheduled for deployment using the self-funded NanoRacks’ CubeSat Deployers manufactured by Quad-M Inc.

Spaceflight leveraged its extensive network of launch-service providers worldwide to offer its customers the NanoRacks space-station mission opportunity. The two companies have a joint teaming agreement to find the optimal launch and orbit for payload provider customers. Spaceflight and NanoRacks previously launched Planet Labs’ Flock 1 on Orbital Science’s Orb-1 mission in early January 2014.

“CubeSats continue to push the bounds of small satellite technology and we are excited to help enable new space companies like Planet Labs to succeed,” said Spaceflight President Curt Blake.

Jeffrey Manber, CEO of NanoRacks, added, “The International Space Station continues to be a launch pad for American companies to compete in the commercial Earth Observation industry and we are pleased, along with our colleagues at NASA and JAXA, to play a role in stimulating this market.”

For more information regarding the Spaceflight and NanoRacks partnership and small-satellite launch and deployment opportunities, please visit and

November 4th, 2013 – Seattle, WA- Spaceflight Inc. (Spaceflight), a leading provider of launch services for small and secondary payloads, and NanoRacks LLC (NanoRacks), a leader in commercializing space operations on and deployment from the International Space Station, formally announce a partnership to provide commercial launch services from the International Space Station (ISS).

Commenting on the partnership, Curt Blake, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Spaceflight, said, “We are very excited to work with NanoRacks and leverage the unique capabilities of the International Space Station. The partnership is a great fit between two like-minded organizations that will help usher in a new chapter for low earth orbit satellite deployment.”

Under this partnership Spaceflight and NanoRacks are collaborating to provide customers routine commercial launch services from the ISS. Each customer spacecraft will be deployed from the ISS via the Japanese Experiment Module airlock utilizing NanoRacks’ Cubesat Deployers. NanoRacks operates via its Space Act Agreement with NASA.

Founded in 2010, Spaceflight is a leading provider of commercial launch services for small and secondary payloads. To date Spaceflight has launched five spacecraft including the Planet Labs Dove-1 and Dove-2 spacecraft, as well as three PhoneSats for NASA Ames Research Center. Spaceflight has over 36 spacecraft under contract for launch scheduled between 2013 and 2017.

Founded in 2009, NanoRacks is the market leader in commercializing operations on the International Space Station (ISS) via its own hardware, from internal research equipment to CubeSat Deployers to the External Platform Program outside the Space Station.

“We are pleased to have Spaceflight as our key sales partner for space station satellite deployment services,” said NanoRacks CEO Jeff Manber. “It is a partnership that is already proving its worth in terms of addressing unique markets, segments, and customers. We believe that ISS has become the go-to platform for small satellite deployment not just today but in the years to come.”

Each customer and spacecraft set for launch and deployment through this joint partnership has a unique mission, some as a technology demonstration, others performing commercial tasks. The initial customers include:
• MIT- Micromas- 3U CubeSat – Weather observation technology demonstration
• Southern Stars- SkyCube – 1U CubeSat- Crowdfunded amateur radio
• Universidad Alas Peruanas – UAPSAT- 1U CubeSat- Student and faculty developed spacecraft
• Planet Labs- Flock 1 –Earth observation satellite constellation
Mission management has been a joint effort between Spaceflight, Nanoracks, and each satellite payload provider. The CubeSats will be delivered to and deployed from ISS in late 2013 and through the middle of 2014.

About Spaceflight Inc.:
Spaceflight Inc. – The Space Logistics Company- provides frequent, cost effective, and routine access to space for deployed and hosted payloads. Spaceflight specializes in the launch of CubeSats, NanoSats and Microsats that weigh between 1kg and 300kg. Through its global network of launch vehicle providers Spaceflight can deploy payloads to low Earth orbit, the Moon and beyond. Visit us on the web at and follow @spaceflightinc.

About NanoRacks LLC:
NanoRacks LLC was formed in 2009 to provide commercial hardware and services for the U.S. National Laboratory onboard the International Space Station. The Company is unique in owning and marketing its own family of hardware, both inside and external to the space Station. To date over 100 payloads have been deployed on space station and the current signed customer pipeline of over 50 payloads including domestic and international educational institutions, research organizations and government organizations, has propelled NanoRacks into a leadership position in understanding the emerging commercial market for low-earth orbit utilization. For more information visit and follow @nanoracks.

NASA selects XCOR to participate in $10 million Suborbital Flight Contract

August 12, 2011, Mojave, CA:  NASA has selected XCOR Aerospace to provide suborbital flight and payload integration services for research and scientific missions in a program that will offer up to $10 million dollars in contracts to match payload customers with flight vehicle services. The awards were announced by NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, a part of NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC that is managed at Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, California.

“Through this award, NASA has recognized XCOR’s Lynx suborbital vehicle as a useful payload platform that will benefit both NASA’s R&D needs and the private research, scientific, and educational communities,” said Jeff Greason, XCOR CEO.  “By encouraging and incentivizing frequent, low cost access to space, NASA is helping to ensure America’s future as a leader in space.”

XCOR’s suborbital reusable launch vehicle, Lynx, is capable of up to four flights per day using advanced rapid call-up and turnaround operations. The Lynx will provide three to four minutes of microgravity as well as, if desired, exposure to the harsh environment of space. This will provide opportunities to investigate the largely unexplored regions of our upper atmosphere.

XCOR has partnered with four leading payload integration providers in the US to give NASA and the research community a first-rate experience for the Program’s missions. The Planetary Science Institute (PSI) of Arizona, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Texas, NanoRacks LLC of Kentucky and Washington, DC, and Spaceflight Services of Washington will provide payload processing and related support services based on their multiple areas of expertise.  These independent payload service providers specialize in atmospheric science, physics, microgravity research, planetary science, Earth observation, and life sciences, and other areas.  XCOR’s partners are among the premier organizations in specialized suborbital and orbital commercial payload development and integration.  PSI recently announced their Atsa Suborbital Observatory, a versatile facility that will maintain cameras and telescopes to conduct astronomical observations or remote sensing of the Earth, will fly on Lynx. SwRI is the pioneering national research institute that will be the first Lynx launch customer for broad based suborbital payload integration and research. NanoRacks and Space Flight Services are national leaders in orbital payload integration and science experimentation, with NanoRacks already providing research platforms on the International Space Station and SpaceFlight Services offering stand alone on-orbit research and transport of experiments to the ISS in the SpaceX Dragon capsule.

“We’re building our Lynx suborbital vehicle to accommodate as many of these missions as possible,” remarked XCOR’s COO Andrew Nelson. “By integrating multiple payload spaces both inside the pressurized cabin and exposed to the vacuum of space we can handle a large variety of experiments as well as the researchers themselves. This is currently a very underserved market, with long lead times and no guarantee of payload recovery on conventional sounding rockets. NASA is jump-starting a revolution in the commercial space industry and scientific research by pairing up payload investigators with cutting edge private suborbital vehicle providers such as XCOR.”

XCOR Aerospace is a California corporation located in Mojave, Calif. The company is in the business of developing and producing safe, reliable and reusable rocket powered vehicles, propulsion systems, advanced non-flammable composites and other enabling technologies. XCOR is working with aerospace prime contractors and government customers on major propulsion systems, and concurrently building the Lynx, a piloted, two-seat, fully reusable, liquid rocket powered vehicle that takes off and lands horizontally, and serves three primary missions: microsatellite launch, research & scientific missions, and private spaceflight.  The Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II) are designed to be robust, multi-mission commercial vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude up to four times per day and are being offered on a wet lease basis.  (

XCOR Announces Global Network of Research and Educational Mission Payload Integrators for Lynx Suborbital Spaceplane

28 February, 2011 – Orlando, FL, USA:  At the commencement of the 2011 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) being held in Orlando, Florida, XCOR Aerospace announced its initial team of suborbital payload integration specialists who will begin taking orders and facilitating experiment development and integration for commercial, educational and government suborbital research missions aboard XCOR’s Lynx reusable suborbital launch vehicle. Capable of up to four flights per day, the Lynx is expected to provide three to four minutes of micro-gravity and/or exposure to the harsh environment of space and the opportunity to investigate largely unknown regions of our upper atmosphere critical to environmental studies.

These pioneering payload integrators represent both large, established companies and start-up space entities run by seasoned executives and fresh new entrepreneurs from places like Asia, Europe, North America, and South Africa. XCOR will be adding additional specialist firms to the network in the coming months.

The first group of XCOR Lynx payload integration specialist firms include the following (in alphabetical order): the African Space Institute of Durban, South Africa; Cosmica Spacelines of Toulouse, France; NanoRacks of Lexington, Kentucky and Washington, D.C.; the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado; Space Chariots in Oxon, England; Space Experience Curaçao of the Netherlands and the Caribbean island of Curaçao; Spaceflight Services in Tukwila, Washington, Valencia, California, and Huntsville, Alabama; and Yecheon Astro Space Center, Yecheon, South Korea.

“This is a win-win for all of us,” said Jeff Greason, XCOR CEO. “XCOR will focus on what we do best, which is build and operate rocket powered vehicles, while our payload integration specialists will do what they do best, which is work closely with scientists and researchers and use their collective expertise to prepare payload missions to do real work in space.”

Dr. Alan Stern, Associate Vice President at SwRI, the former NASA Associate Administrator for Science and the Chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation’s Suborbital Researchers Group, noted “We are extremely excited about the capabilities that Lynx will bring to our many research clients at SwRI, so much so that we’ve already procured six flights for our own pathfinder and discovery missions to better understand how we can best serve our clients. As a trained researcher and test engineer, I can’t wait to fly with my experiments on Lynx and ring out the processes and procedures that will help our clients succeed, and help our Institute stay at the forefront of the 21st century.”

Each of the announced entities has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or contractual relationship with XCOR Aerospace creating a robust initial network of sales and payload integration specialist firms for the science, engineering, and education missions that will be flown on XCOR’s Lynx suborbital reusable launch vehicle. Some see Lynx as a strong compliment to their existing business models or as a tool to develop critical national science and education capabilities or inspire new ways of thinking and execution of space based research.

Jeff Manber, a seasoned space executive who runs NanoRacks, LLC, already has research platforms on the International Space Station (ISS) being used for commercial and educational research in the CubeSat form factor. Jeff noted “Having over 50 payloads from multiple nations already booked for the U.S. National Lab, we expect XCOR’s platform to be a solid first step for many of our customers to validate experiments that will go on to the Space Station. The ability to fly, test, learn, then adjust payloads on the ground and re-fly is extremely useful when perfecting a payload. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand XCOR’s value proposition.”

Brad Inggs, Founder and President of the African Space Institute noted “In South Africa, we are constantly on the lookout for innovative ways to build up the emerging commercial space industry and provide related educational opportunities to our community, so being a payload integrator for the XCOR Lynx platform not only offers a leap forward allowing affordable access to space for African payloads but also allows us to further generate local skills and jobs in the region.”

Garrett Smith, Founder and President of Cosmica Spacelines of Toulouse, France equates the partnership with XCOR as a cornerstone for greater ventures into space and touches on the enabling aspects of XCOR’s Lynx. He notes, “Through building a strong community of not only individual enthusiasts but corporate futurists, Cosmica Visionaries will lead Europe and the world towards a progressive future. XCOR will provide us with the capability to offer safe, reliable travel to the edge of space and beyond for the good of humanity.”

The XCOR payload integration specialist firms will support a variety of scientific, educational and engineering objectives including: atmospheric science, physics, microgravity research, planetary science, earth observation, life sciences, education and public outreach, and many others. Some firms such as NanoRacks already have capabilities on orbit at the ISS and will use Lynx as a qualification platform, others are teamed with launch services providers who have other on orbit resources like new commercial cargo and crew systems who will be using Lynx for pre-cursor missions.

Jason Andrews, President of Andrews Space and Spaceflight Services commented, “We are working with experimenters and scientists who will be using the SpaceX unpressurized Dragon Lab capsule for standalone on-orbit research and transport of experiments to the ISS, so having the ability to test in the vacuum of space with XCOR’s Lynx platform prior to sending something up on a Falcon 9 is a very powerful tool for our customers.”

General Ben Droste (retired) is the former Chief of Staff for the Netherlands Air Force, lead the pre-curser to the Netherlands Space Office (the NASA equivalent), and is the current Chief Executive Officer of Netherlands-based Space Experience Curacao. General Droste noted, “The Netherlands has a long history of pioneering ventures in general and in particular with micro-gravity research and atmospheric studies, so as we prepare to take on our own wet lease of a Lynx vehicle for flights in Curacao, we will also be laying the groundwork and seeding the market for future suborbital research funded by private industry, government and groups like the European Space Agency (ESA).”

Each payload integration specialist firm will help facilitate and provision flight services on the Lynx by ensuring end users understand the packaging, environmental, safety, operational flight profile(s) and interface (physical, electrical and data) requirements of the Lynx for both automated experiments not requiring user intervention during flight, and those experiments when the scientist accompanies the payload to the edge of space. The integrators will provide a variety of additional value added services depending on their individual service offering and customer needs, including, but not limited to fabrication, test and qualification of experiments for the Lynx environment.

XCOR will be responsible for: (1) developing and periodically updating the Lynx interface control document, payload user’s guide and other payload related processes and procedures in consultation with the payload integration specialists, end customers and regulators; (2) operating an annual Lynx payload user’s group conference to solicit feedback and promulgate best practices across the payload integrators network and user community; (3) addressing any specific non-standard needs identified by payload integration specialists and their customers such as special flight trajectories or unique vehicle integration needs; (4) any special licensing or regulatory actions pertaining to the flight; and (5) with the integration specialist and customer, performing a final safety and pre-flight review meeting before the mission is flown and a de-briefing of the mission after flight.

Dr. Jae-Song Jo, Director of the Yecheon Astro Space Center noted, “We are impressed with the professionalism and excellent processes we’ve seen from XCOR and know that clients who demand precision and responsiveness will be well served. As we prepare for our own wet lease operations in the future, the early experience we gain by bringing South Korean and Asian science experiments to the US will only enhance that level of professionalism and establish us as a premier operator in Asia.”

On flight day, XCOR will receive payloads from the integration specialist (and/or customer), place it into one of the four cargo carrying locations on the Lynx, fly the payload on the mutually agreed upon trajectory, and return the payload to the researcher or payload integrator (as directed) within minutes of touchdown. From temporary airport-side storage or labs all the way to space and back to a runway-side lab is projected take under 30 minutes on a nominal flight with Lynx – a step function improvement over any capability available today and a strong compliment to other available systems.

Ray Bainbridge, CEO of UK-based Space Chariots, noted the synergies he sees between Lynx and terrestrial reduced gravity (drop tower and aircraft parabolic flights) and sounding rocket research when he said, “we offer low cost design, manufacture and reduced gravity test facilities as well as sounding rocket launches for academic research and the emerging private space industry, so having the ability to use Lynx as our suborbital reusable vehicle platform provides us with a full range of solutions for our customer requirements.”

Depending upon customer needs, the Lynx can carry as small as a 1kg (or smaller) payload as a “ride share” or “secondary payload”, and up to a 650kg large “primary” mission payload. Payloads may be carried as ride share or primary payloads in the Lynx pressurized cabin or be exposed to the unpressurized and harsh conditions of space. In the future, small nanosatellites may also be launched from the Lynx vehicle using an expendable upper stage launcher of XCOR design allowing innovative low earth orbit satellite applications, constellations, and the testing of new and advanced technologies to be used on larger satellites and manned flight vehicles.

Andrew Nelson, XCOR’s Chief Operating Officer added, “with the lowest cost of operations in the marketplace, ability to fly multiple times daily from sites around the world using our affordable ‘wet lease’ customer model, and our global reach with these trail blazing space entrepreneurs, Lynx is poised to become the de facto standard in suborbital reusable launch vehicle payloads for scientific, education and engineering purposes, and create high paying technical job clusters not only in the US, but everywhere Lynx operates.”

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XCOR Aerospace is a California corporation located in Mojave, California. The company is in the business of developing and producing safe, reliable and reusable rocket powered vehicles, propulsion systems, advanced non-flammable composites and other enabling technologies. XCOR is currently working with aerospace prime contractors and government customers on major propulsion systems, and concurrently building the Lynx, a piloted, two seat, fully reusable, liquid rocket powered vehicle that takes off and lands horizontally. The Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II) are designed to be robust, multi-commercial mission vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude up to four times per day and are being offered on a wet lease basis. Research, engineering, and educational communities interested in using the Lynx should contact Mike Massee or Andrew Nelson at XCOR directly regarding scientific, earth observation, materials science, upper-atmospheric weather research, micro-gravity experiments and other potential uses at and XCOR will connect you to your nearest payload integrator specialist firm serving the Lynx community, or contact them directly. These include:

African Space Institute
Cosmica Spacelines -
NanoRacks, LLC -
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI)
Space Chariots -
Space Experience Curaçao -
Spaceflight Services -
Yecheon Astro Space Center -

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