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More CubeSats Heading To Space, Says United Launch Alliance

ULA will dedicate slots on Atlas V rockets to launch CubeSats to space. Photo: ULA
ULA will dedicate slots on Atlas V rockets to launch CubeSats to space. Photo: ULA

United Launch Alliance is making it easier – and cheaper – for universities to send miniature experiments to space.

These micro-experiments, called CubeSats, are about the size of a box of tissue. And until now, they’ve had to find a bigger satellite to share a ride to space.

ULA says that within the next year and a half, it will have dedicated CubeSat slots on some of its Atlas V rockets.

The launch company’s CEO Tory Bruno says the initiative will help get more cubesats to space.

“We’re going to double the worldwide capacity of cubesats getting to space. It will completely transform that environment," says Bruno. “We’re going to completely transform the availability of space for CubeSats, for their commercial applications, and most importantly for the research and STEM opportunities they provide."

Universities will compete for free rides on the Atlas V. ULA launches about ten of those rockets a year.

Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program. Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration, and the weekly news roundup podcast "The Wrap."