First Salvo of 16 Planet Labs CubeSats Completes ISS Departure Early Saturday


An initial salvo of 16 Planet Labs' Earth imaging CubeSats completed their NanoRacks LLC engineered departures from the International Space Station early Feb. 15.

blog post photo
Planet Labs' Flock 1 CubeSats begin largest ever satellite deployment on Feb. 11, emerging from the International Space Station with a boost from NanoRacks. Photo Credit: NASA Photo

Twelve remaining Planet Labs' Flock 1 CubeSats delivered to the six person orbiting science laboratory aboard Orbital Sciences Corp's "Orb-1" Cygnus re-supply capsule on Jan. 12 are scheduled for deployment in the coming days, comprising the largest single satellite deployment, according to NASA.

In all, the Cygnus mission delivered 33 of the tiny satellites for multiple users.

The deployments, supervised by ISS Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, began Feb. 11 as the spring loaded NanoRacks CubeSat dispenser passed through a small airlock from the inside of the ISS Kibo lab module to the Japanese robot arm mounted to an external experiment platform. The arm held and pointed the CubeSat-filled deployer away from the station for the carefully timed releases.

The four Planet Labs satellites dispensed on Feb. 11 were followed by two more on Feb. 12, four on Feb.13 and two on Feb. 14. Four that experienced deployment difficulties on Feb. 12 were ejected on Feb. 15.

Please or Register to post comments.

What's On Space?

On Space

A Century of Aviation Week

Aviation Week & Space Technology is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.


Aug 26, 2016

When Aviation Week Was Accused of Treason -- The Back Story Revealed 8

A 1957 revelation that the U.S. was tracking Soviet missile launches from a secret radar in Turkey has its roots in sleuthing of students from Kettering Grammar School in the UK....More
Aug 23, 2016

When Aviation Week Was Accused Of Treason 23

Aviation Week editors routinely get blowback when they write about sensitive topics, and the best example of that may be an October 1957 story that revealed the U.S. had been tracking Russian missile launches from advanced long-range radar units in Turkey....More
Blog Archive
Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×