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Satnews Daily
April 8th, 2015

A FeatherCraft In Their Cap... SST-US, Aerojet Rocketdyne + NanoRacks Combine Forces For New Satellite Platform

SST-US' images of their FeatherCraft platform.

[SatNews] Colorado-based Surrey Satellite Technology US LLC (SST-US) is collaborating with Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc. and NanoRacks LLC on the development of the FeatherCraft platform, a 100 kilogram-class satellite platform optimized for deployment from the International Space Station (ISS).

The 100-kilogram, SST-US-designed FeatherCraft platform is intended to exploit the full capabilities of the ISS cargo resupply vessels and the NanoRacks Kaber deployment system aboard the ISS. Aerojet Rocketdyne’s electronic propulsion system permits handling of FeatherCraft as the ISS astronauts position it on the Kaber deployer for deployment into orbit. With a mission lifetime of five years, FeatherCraft will provide a low-risk, cost-effective satellite platform that can accommodate payloads with requirements of up to 45 kilograms and 50 watts.

The development of FeatherCraft leverages the significant experience of the team members: Surrey Satellite’s extensive heritage of small satellite design, development, and operation spanning more than 30 years through the manufacture and deployment of 43 satellite programs; Aerojet Rocketdyne’s proven track record in the design, development, and manufacture of state-of-the-art propulsion and structural subsystems; and NanoRacks’ unique experience in the planning, logistics, and operations of launch services from the International Space Station.

Dr. John Paffett, chief executive officer of SST-US, said, “FeatherCraft will reduce payload integration and testing time for our customers, which facilitates rapid and cost-effective deployment of their payloads.”

“The Kaber launch service was a clear next step for NanoRacks to meet our company’s constantly growing customer needs and desires to deploy larger satellites from the International Space Station,” said Jeff Manber, chief executive officer of NanoRacks. “Kaber continues to promote ISS utilization, and the FeatherCraft platform expands the capability of payloads that can be deployed from ISS—furthering the ISS’s dual role as a commercial nexus.”

SST-US will manufacture, integrate, and test FeatherCraft at its Englewood, Colorado, facility.