First nano-satellite functional: NASA

WASHINGTON (TIP): A miniature satellite sent in the space aboard an Atlas V rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on October 8 is working fine, Nasa has announced.

The Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD) CubeSat spacecraft is in orbit and operational, said Nasa and The Aerospace Corporation of El Segundo, California.

CubeSats are going to play a key role in exploration, technology demonstration, scientific research and educational investigations.

They provide a low-cost platform for Nasa missions, including planetary space exploration, Earth observations, fundamental Earth and space science.

“Technology demonstration missions like OCSD are driving exploration,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC.

“By improving the communication capability of small spacecraft to support data-intensive science missions, OCSD will advance the potential to become a more viable option for mission planners,” he said in a statement.

CubeSats also allow an inexpensive means to engage students in all phases of satellite development, operation and exploitation through real-world, hands-on research and development experience.