September 20, 2016 – United Launch Alliance (ULA) has selected four proposals from university students to receive free CubeSat launch slots on future Atlas V missions through the company’s new innovative rideshare program. Dubbed CubeCorp, the program encourages hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) experience to motivate, educate and develop the next generation of rocket scientists and space entrepreneurs.
“ULA is passionate about educating and developing future leaders in the space industry,” said Tory Bruno, ULA CEO and president. “We’ve established a very low-cost approach to CubeSat design and launch to accommodate our commitment to STEM and innovative commercial CubeSat entrepreneurs.”
This year’s first place winner of the CubeSat STEM education program was the University of Texas at El Paso, with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette coming in second. Other winners are: Purdue University and University of Michigan.
A team of reviewers from across ULA and Tyvak, ULA’s primary auxiliary payload integrator, thoroughly evaluated each proposal. Selection criteria included mission objective, educational outreach and ability to meet technical requirements. Launch date coordination will begin in the next few weeks.
Additionally, ULA offered universities around the nation the opportunity to help name the CubeSat STEM education program. Austin Braun, a student at the University of Colorado Boulder, submitted CubeCorp as the winning name.
“Congratulations to all of our winners,” said Bruno. “You are the next generation of rocket scientists and space entrepreneurs and we could not be more pleased to offer this unique opportunity.”
ULA’s CubeSat Rideshare Initiative enables rideshare opportunities on its Atlas V launch vehicle and aims to tap into a growing market of small satellites with applications in education, scientific research, U.S. Government and commercial business. CubeSats are miniaturized satellites originally designed for use in conjunction with university educational projects and quickly becoming a dependable tool for advance missions. CubeSats are made of one or more units, called U’s, measuring 10cm x 10cm x 10cm with a mass of 1.33 kilograms.
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 has successfully delivered well over 100 conventional satellites and 55 CubeSats to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.
ULA is headquartered in Centennial, Colorado.