May, 2024

Exolaunch Successfully Deploys NASA’s ACS3 Satellite

This marks the first-ever satellite Exolaunch has deployed for NASA, which launched via Rocket Lab’s Electron vehicle on April 23, 2024.

Image: © RocketLab

Denver, Colo. (USA) — May 1, 2024 — Exolaunch, the global provider in launch mission management, integration, and satellite deployment services, provided its industry-leading deployment services for NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail System (ACS3) satellite aboard Rocket Lab’s "Beginning of the Swarm" mission. The liftoff occurred on April 23 at 1000 NZT / 2200 UTC from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand. As the first satellite the company has deployed for NASA, this landmark launch is Exolaunch’s 28th mission, further solidifying its position as a trusted partner in the space industry for commercial companies, research institutions, and government space agencies alike.

ACS3, which features a 12U nanosatellite bus built by Kongsberg NanoAvionics, is testing new structures for solar sail systems, which harness sunlight for propulsion. The satellite was successfully deployed into orbit using Exolaunch’s flight-proven EXOpod deployer, emphasizing the company’s expertise in launch mission integration and reliable satellite deployment hardware.

Image: © RocketLab

With NASA’s ACS3 now in orbit, the mission’s primary objective is to test the deployment of lightweight booms designed to unfurl a solar sail measuring about 30 feet per side. ACS3 marks the first use of composite booms, as well as sail packing and deployment systems, for a solar sail in space. Additionally, exploring solar sailing as a viable alternative to chemical and electric propulsion systems is crucial to enabling future low-cost, efficient deep space missions. This innovative technology holds great promise for a variety of applications, including space weather monitoring satellites, asteroid reconnaissance missions, and solar observation missions, contributing to significant advancements in space exploration and science.

Image: © RocketLab

Image: © RocketLab

"Exolaunch is honored to have been a part of NASA’s ACS3 mission," commented Jake Cornish, US launch director at Exolaunch. "Congratulations to NASA and Kongsberg NanoAvionics on reaching this crucial milestone, and thank you, Rocket Lab, for a smooth ride to orbit. We are excited to see the potential applications of ACS3 unfold, and are proud to support and enable NASA’s innovative endeavors in space exploration using small satellites.”

About Exolaunch

Exolaunch is a global leader in launch mission integration and deployment technologies based in Denver, Colorado and Berlin, Germany. With a decade of flight heritage and over 390 satellites launched across 28 missions to date, Exolaunch leverages industry insight to tailor turnkey solutions that meet customer needs and respond to market trends. Exolaunch fulfills launch contracts for industry leaders, the world's most innovative start-ups, research institutions, government organizations, and international space agencies. The company develops and manufactures its own flight-proven and industry-leading small satellite separation systems, with the fastest-growing heritage on the market. Exolaunch promotes safe, sustainable, and responsible use of space and is committed to making space accessible for all.

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