Deploying Satellites at 465-500 km Orbits

Nanoracks provides CubeSat and Smallsat launch services for payloads that require orbits higher than the International Space Station (ISS). Satellites are deployed from the Nanoracks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD), mounted directly onto Panel 5 of the Cygnus expendable cargo spacecraft which is placed in orbit by Northrop Grumman’s Antares Rocket.

Upon launch, Cygnus remains at the ISS for about 30 days, which is then released and raised to an orbit of 450-500km (50-100km higher than ISS). Once this maneuver is complete, the satellites are deployed at 51.6° inclination, before the Cygnus moves into a re-entry burn.

Want to launch a satellite?

Why Nanoracks

End-2-End Service

Nanoracks manages all aspects of your launch from contract signature to in-orbit operations. No need to interface with NASA or any other entity. At Nanoracks ‘we make your mission happen’.

Mission Launch Program Management

Expertise and proven success with multiple application satellites and configurations.

Competitive Price

Competitive to traditional rideshare launch while incorporating numerous value-adds.

Reliable & Flexible Launch

ISS launches are proven to be very reliable with multiple types of vehicles and a predictable schedule. No prime satellite customer will delay the launches as with Expendable Launch Vehicles (ELVs).

High-Availability Ground Communications

Extensive ground communications with maximum transmit intervals comparable (and better) with Sun-Synchronous Orbits (SSO).

Space Debris Mitigation

One to one and a half year orbit is highly sufficient for most In-Orbit Demonstration (IOD) missions, but also means that we are reducing orbital debris and satellites de-orbit naturally.

Cygnus Deployment Features

The NRCSD is a self-contained CubeSat deployer system that mechanically and electrically isolates CubeSats, and has been in operation since 2014. The NRCSD consists of anodized aluminum plates, base plate assembly, access panels, and deployer doors.

The NRCSD deployer doors are located on the forward end, the base plate assembly is located on the aft end, and access panels are provided on the top. The inside walls of the NRCSD are a smooth bore design to minimize and/or preclude hang-up or jamming of CubeSat appendages during deployment. Deployable systems shall be designed such that there is no intentional contact with the inside walls of the NRCSD.

Maximum Mass:

  • 1U maximum mass: 2.4 kg
  • 3U maximum mass: 4.8 kg
  • 6U maximum mass: 8.4 kg
  • 6U (1x6U config) maximum mass: 8.4 kg
  • 6U (2x3U config) maximum mass: 12 kg
  • 12U maximum mass: 24kg

Non-standard Accommodations:

  • Electric or water propulsion
  • Large deployable or sub-deployable systems
  • Pressure vessels or pressurized liquid/gas systems
Payload Volume36U total
Form Factor1U-6U linear, 6U (2x3U config), 12U
Altitude465-500 km
Deployment Timeframe3-4 months post-launch
Nominal TurnoverL-35 days
Mission Lifetime18-30 Months
Deployment Velocity1.1 m/s or 2.2 m/s
Mission CustomizationAvailable by request (e.g., deployment below ISS ~325km)