United Launch Alliance Releases Application For University CubeSat Competition

Image Credit: United Launch Alliance

Image Credit: United Launch Alliance

April 7, 2016 – Applications are now open for U.S. colleges and universities to compete for free CubeSat rides on United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rockets. ULA, the nation’s most experienced launch company, has successfully launched 106 missions, including 55 CubeSats, with 100 percent mission success. Tyvak Nanosatellite Systems, Inc., will provide no-cost access to space for selected science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) CubeSat customers for rideshares on ULA’s Atlas V launch vehicle, as well as low-cost access to space for commercial and U.S. government CubeSat customers.

CubeSat competition applications, available at www.ulalaunch.com/cubesats.aspx, are due June 1, 2016, and winning schools will be announced during the summer. The competition is open to all U.S. accredited colleges and universities, which are encouraged to team or perform outreach with K-12 schools to further expand these opportunities throughout the STEM community. Other judging criteria for university proposals include technical requirements, mission objective and ability to meet their development schedule. Senior personnel from ULA and Tyvak will be on the selection committee.

“Universities pioneered CubeSat development, and there is a growing need for launch access and availability,” said Tory Bruno, ULA president and CEO. “Our goal is to eventually add university CubeSat slots to nearly every Atlas and Vulcan Centaur launch – with potential for 100 rides per year. ULA’s CubeSat program revolutionizes access to space for these payloads while ensuring that the next generation of rocket scientists and space entrepreneurs has the opportunity to continue driving on-orbit innovation.”

CubeSats are miniaturized satellites originally designed for use in conjunction with university educational projects and are typically 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm (4 inches x 4 inches x 4 inches) and approximately 1.3 kg (3 lbs).

“Working together with ULA to make space accessible to university researchers is a cause close to our hearts at Tyvak,” said Dr. Jordi Puig-Suari, Tyvak’s Chief Science Officer. “Many members of our team came from university-level CubeSat programs and we are all pleased to have the opportunity to work with ULA to help other university researchers gain critical access to space.”

Colleges and universities with questions about the application and request for proposals should contact ULA via ulacubesats@ulalaunch.com. Answers to questions received will be posted onto the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com/cubesats.aspx.

Rideshare is a flight-proven, innovative approach that provides customers a low-cost way to achieve various mission objectives without the need for a dedicated launch vehicle. ULA is the country’s most experienced rideshare provider, successfully launching missions ranging from CubeSats to large, dual-manifest payloads.