Space Station Astronauts Launch SpinSat; NRL Starts Getting Data

01/12/2015 07:00 EST - 10-15r
Contact: Kyra Wiens, (202) 767-2541

On November 28, 2014, astronauts aboard the International Space Station successfully deployed SpinSat into orbit. SpinSat is a beach ball-like satellite, built by Andy Nicholas and others at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL).

SpinSat's primary mission is to demonstrate a new thruster technology; researchers will also use it to test the space surveillance network and improve future atmospheric density models.

NASA astronauts Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Terry Virts unpacked SpinSat from its packaging, and got it ready to be installed on the Cyclops arm. Cyclops deployed SpinSat from the station's Japanese Experiment Module airlock.

On December 3, Nicholas made first contact with SpinSat. He sent the commands to start collecting data on the satellite's spin rate, as SpinSat continued its tumbling orbit around Earth.

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All photos credit: NASA

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About the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is the Navy's full-spectrum corporate laboratory, conducting a broadly based multidisciplinary program of scientific research and advanced technological development. The Laboratory, with a total complement of nearly 2,800 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 90 years and continues to meet the complex technological challenges of today's world. For more information, visit the NRL homepage or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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