Deploying CubeSats and MicroSats from the Space Station

Commercial satellite deployment from the International Space Station (ISS), offered by Nanoracks, has proven to be simpler, easier, faster, more secure and lower cost than regular Rideshare satellite launches. As of the end of 2020, Nanoracks has launched more than 200 satellites from the ISS, with manifests continuing to fill up for future missions.

Key benefits of deploying satellites from the ISS include highly reliable launches with flexible launch windows. Payloads enjoy soft stowed, pressurized, ambient temperature on launch with a very short turn around on re-flight, and at an affordable price.

Want to launch a smallsat from the ISS?

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Why Nanoracks

ISS Satellite Launch Added Value – Not Just Another Rideshare. Download Nanoracks ISS Satellite Deployment Value Proposition.

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’.

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 ELVs.

Competitive Price

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

Well Defined Orbit

The ISS orbit covers 85% of Earth’s populated areas.

High Quality Imagery

Show your investors exactly where their money is being well spent, while also getting a visual inspection of the satellite on deployment.

Smooth Ride

Soft stowed, pressurized, and ambient temperature at launch. Your spacecraft will not be exposed to the same magnitude of shock, vibration and depressurization as a traditional rideshare mission.

Space Debris Mitigation

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

How it Works

ISS satellite launch services

1 – Handover to Nanoracks

2 – Soft ride to the ISS

3 – Satellites stowed on the ISS

4 – ISS crew prepare satellites

5 – Robotic arm positions for orbit and deploys satellites

Technical Configurations and Options

CubeSats (CubeSat Deployer)

The Nanoracks CubeSat Deployer (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. 

Payload Volume48U total
Form Factor (Single Wide)1U-6U linear
Form Factor (Double Wide)2x3U, 2x6U
Altitude400-420 km
Deployment Timeframe3-6 months post-launch
Nominal TurnoverL-3 Months
Mission Lifetime9-24 Months
Mission CustomizationAvailable by request

MicroSats (Kaber Delpoyer)

The Nanoracks Kaber MicroSat Deployer (Kaber) is a reusable system that provides command and control for MicroSat deployments from the International Space Station (ISS). 

The Kaber promotes ISS utilization by enabling deployment into orbit for a class of payload developers normally relying on expendable launch vehicles for space access. MicroSatellites that are compatible with the Nanoracks Kaber Deployer have additional power, volume and communications resources enabling missions in low-Earth orbit of greater scope and sophistication.

Maximum Payload Size106 x 81 x 63 cm
Maximum Mass90 kg
Altitude400-420 km
Deployment Timeframe3-6 months post-launch
Nominal TurnoverL-3 Months
Mission Lifetime9-24 Months
Mission CustomizationAvailable by request