NASA has selected 20 nanosatellites to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard rockets planned to launch in 2011 and 2012, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) announced on Wednesday, Xinhua reported.
The nanosatellits, called CubeSats, are approximately four inches long, have a volume of about one quart and weigh 2.2 pounds or less, according to JPL.
The satellites, which are eligible for flight after final negotiations when an opportunity arises, are expected to conduct technology demonstrations, educational or science research missions, said JPL, headquartered in Pasadena, Los Angeles.
The first CubeSats to be carried on an expendable vehicle for the agency's Launch Services Program will comprise NASA's Educational Launch of Nanosatellite, or ELaNa, mission, JPL said in a news release.
ELaNa will fly on the Glory mission scheduled to lift off on Feb. 23. The 12 CubeSat payloads selected from the first round of the CubeSat Launch Initiative will have launch opportunities beginning later this year, according to JPL.
The proposed CubeSats come from a high school in Virginia, universities across the country, NASA field centers and Department of Defense organizations as well as JPL, the release said.