NASA Wants To Launch Tiny Moon Satellites On Its Next-Generation Rocket

Artist's conception of NASA's Space Launch System. Credit: NASA

Artist’s conception of NASA’s Space Launch System. Credit: NASA

As the space community counts down the days to the long-awaited Dec. 4 uncrewed launch of the Orion spacecraft — that vehicle that is supposed to bring astronauts into the solar system in the next decade — NASA is already thinking ahead to the next space test in 2017 or 2018.

Riding atop the new Space Launch System rocket, if all goes to plan, will be a suite of CubeSats that will explore the Moon as Orion makes its journey out to our largest closest celestial neighbor. NASA announced details of the $5 million “Cube Quest” challenge yesterday (Nov. 24).

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© Elizabeth Howell for Universe Today, 2014. |
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