Educational Launch of Nanosatellites
Project ELaNa: Launching Education into Space
Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) is an exciting initiative created by NASA to attract and retain students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. Managed by the Launch Services Program (LSP) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, ELaNa reaches students by introducing educational spaceflight in high schools and colleges across the United States.
Students are heavily involved in all aspects of the mission from developing, assembling, and testing payloads to working with NASA and the launch vehicle integration teams. The ELaNa nanosatellites, or CubeSats, are held to rigorous standards similar to that of the primary spacecraft.
CubeSats are designed in standard units of 10x10x10 cm, about 4 inches cubed. CubeSats can be built in a single unit, or combined in units of two, three or six. A single unit must weigh less than 1.33 kg, or 3 pounds. On launch day, the tiny satellites are deployed one after another from a Poly-Picosatellite Orbital Deployer (P-POD), a standard CubeSat carrier system designed and built by Cal Poly students.
ELaNa missions were the first educational cargo to be carried on expendable launch vehicles for LSP. These payloads are selected through › NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative, which provides launch opportunities for small satellites.