NASA's Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite, or FASTSAT, is scheduled to lift off from the Kodiak Launch Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska, on Friday, November 19th at approximately 7:24 p.m. CST on a Minotaur IV launch vehicle.
FASTSAT will carry six small payloads to low-Earth orbit, demonstrating a critical ability to provide low-cost opportunities for scientific and technical payloads to get to space. FASTSAT is NASA's first microsatellite designed to create a capability that increases opportunities for secondary, scientific and technology payloads, or rideshares, to be flown at lower cost than previously possible. It serves as a bus or platform that puts scientific research on the affordable fast track for governmental, academic and industry researchers.
The NanoSail-D technology demonstration experiment will ride to orbit on FASTSAT, which was designed, built and tested in Huntsville.
Once the satellite is in orbit, mission control for FASTSAT and its six onboard experiments will cut over to the newly formed small satellite mission control room at Marshall's Huntsville Operations and Science Control Center.
The nanosatellite NanoSail-D will deploy NASA's first solar sail in low-Earth orbit from the microsatellite FASTSAT and demonstrate the deployment of a compact solar sail boom system that could lead to further development of this alternate propulsion technology. Once ejected and its sail unfurled, the 100-square-foot solar sail, which is about the size of a large tent, will be observable for approximately 70-120 days before it re-enters the atmosphere and disintegrates.