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Exolaunch facilitates NASA's ACS3 satellite deployment into orbit
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Exolaunch facilitates NASA's ACS3 satellite deployment into orbit
by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) May 02, 2024

Exolaunch has provided its deployment services for NASA's Advanced Composite Solar Sail System (ACS3) satellite, marking the company's first satellite deployment for NASA and its 28th mission overall. The event took place on April 23 at 1000 NZT / 2200 UTC from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand, utilizing Rocket Lab's "Beginning of the Swarm" mission.

The ACS3 satellite, built on a 12U nanosatellite bus by Kongsberg NanoAvionics, aims to test new solar sail structures that use sunlight for propulsion. The successful deployment was achieved using Exolaunch's EXOpod deployer, underlining its capabilities in launch mission integration and satellite deployment.

The mission's primary goal is to test lightweight booms that will unfurl a solar sail about 30 feet on each side, a first in the use of composite materials and sail deployment systems in space. This technology could provide alternatives to conventional propulsion methods, potentially reducing the cost and increasing the efficiency of future deep space missions. Applications could include space weather monitoring, asteroid reconnaissance, and solar observation, offering advancements in space exploration and science.

"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."

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