Proven Agility of Commercial Space through SpaceX-5 Launch

February 21, 2018 – 11:52 am

NanoRacks successfully manifested payloads onto SpaceX-5 in record time: nine days. Historically, it takes months, years even, to successfully manifest a payload for delivery to the International Space Station. But that speed is too slow for the agile commercial space industry.

NanoRacks was able to manifest CubeSats under a nine day deadline, and MixStix experiments in under one-month. That’s how little time there was to manifest payloads onto SpaceX-5 after the loss of Orb-3, and the company, working side by side with NASA and our customers, made it happen.

Featured on the SpaceX-5 launch are two CubeSats from Planet Labs. These CubeSats, referred to as the Doves “Flock-1D”, will continue to build the ever-growing fleet of Earth-observation satellites. Planet Labs lost 26 Doves on Orb-3 but the company was able to build, test, and deliver two more CubeSats to NanoRacks within 9 days.

In a recent blog post, Robbie Schingler, President and COO of Planet Labs commented: “Fortunately, there are consistent and frequent cargo missions going to service the ISS orbit; in fact, about 15% of global launch capacity serves the ISS. Therefore, within hours of the launch failure, we were working with NanoRacks, our launch platform partner for the ISS, to coordinate with NASA to get us re-manifested on a cargo mission as soon as possible.

Additionally, NanoRacks was able to re-fly 17 out of 18 Student Team Flight Experiments from the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program that were originally on Orb-3. These experiments, known as “Yankee Clipper II” represent 6, 860 elementary through college students engaged in microgravity experiment design and were selected from 1, 487 flight experiment proposals submitted from student teams. The students had less than one month to reconstruct their experiments to make the SpaceX-5 manifest deadline.

NanoRacks is also pleased to be hosting the last of seven payload winners from the Space Florida International Space Station Research Competition. The team comes from the Florida Institute of Technology and is led by Dr. Samuel Durrance, former astronaut and current professor of physics and space sciences. Dr. Durrance and his team are hoping to gain a new understanding of the development of Alzheimer’s disease with their experiment ‘Self-Assembly in Biology and the Origin of Life’ otherwise known as SABOL.


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