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Northrop, Applied Minds successfully tests Mayflower satellite

The satellite, launched on Dec. 8, 2010, was the first commercial cubesat deployed into orbit by SpaceX.

REDONDO BEACH (BNS): The Mayflower microsatellite was successfully launched on a Falcon 9 Dragon test mission and injected into an elliptical orbit approximately 285 kilometers above earth.

The satellite was jointly developed by Northrop Grumman and Applied Minds, LLC.

According to Northrop Grumman, data gathered from around the world was analysed, showing all tested systems functioned correctly including a new, previously unproven advanced solar cell deployment system.

While this first flight collected baseline design data, subsequent flights at higher altitudes will demonstrate unique propulsion, communication and orientation capabilities, and novel payloads.

The system was designed to test a set of microsatellite components in space. Following standard specifications, microsatellites easily combine with one another onto existing rockets, and only require low development costs, making space mission participation more accessible to those outside the industry.

Built at Applied Minds in 2010, Mayflower and a payload designed by the University of Southern California were integrated and tested at Northrop Grumman, and then integrated into the Falcon 9 Dragon test mission by California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

On December 8, 2010, the first commercial cubesat was deployed into orbit by SpaceX.


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