Network & Operation Demonstration Satellite (NODeS) (NanoRacks-NODeS) - 01.18.18

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
The Network & Operation Demonstration Satellite (NODeS) (NanoRacks-NODeS) mission launches a pair of cubesats into orbit about 310 miles above Earth, where they measure the radiation. These nanosatellites cross-link with each other to coordinate positions and share data, enabling a wide range of experiments for scientific, commercial and academic research. This investigation tests the technology to send swarms of advanced nanosatellites into space, lowering costs and development time for future space research using small inexpensive satellites.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by John Hanson, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)
John Hanson, Ph.D., NASA Ames , Mountain View, CA, United States

Information Pending

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory (NL)

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
September 2015 - March 2016; March 2016 - September 2016

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
NanoRacks-NODeS continues the legacy of the PhoneSat series of small satellites that first introduced and successfully implemented the use of Android Smartphone technology to perform many of the spacecraft functions previously accomplished through custom technology development efforts.

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • Each NODeS nanosatellite is a 1.5 unit cubesat with dimensions of about 10 by 10 by 17 centimeters and a mass of about 2 kilograms.
  • Each satellite carries a sensor, built by Montana State University (procured through a competitive solicitation), to make distributed, multipoint space radiation measurements.
  • The NODeS pair mission duration is approximately two weeks with orbital life reaching 6 months.
  • Network & Operation Demonstration Satellite (NODeS) (NanoRacks-NODeS) demonstrates a communications concept in which the individual satellites share their collected data and one of the satellites transmits the data to a ground station. However, any satellite is capable of serving as the link to the ground.

The Network & Operation Demonstration Satellite (NODeS) (NanoRacks-NODeS) mission consists of two 1.5- unit (1.5U) nanosatellites each weighing approximately 2 kilograms (4 pounds) and measuring 10 centimeters by 10 centimeters by 17 centimeters. The NanoRacks-NODeS spacecraft are derived from the hardware and software developed for the Edison Demonstration of Smallsat Networks (EDSN) mission (a swarm of eight spacecraft). Each Node utilizes the Android operating system with EDSN- specific software programmed to perform command and data handling tasks that allow the satellites to 1) relay ground commands through one satellite to the second satellite, 2) collect and relay science data on the radiation environment in the International Space Station (ISS) orbit from each satellite to the ground station, and 3) autonomously determine which of the two satellites is best suited to control the space network and relay data to the ground (“Captain”) and notify the ground system and second satellite (“Lieutenant”) of the result. The science instruments on each satellite will collect data on the radiation environment at an altitude of 400 kilometers (km) above Earth. These same instruments will be utilized for the EDSN mission, but the altitude at which the EDSN swarm orbits is 450 km above Earth.

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Space Applications
Nanosatellite technology improves access to space by simplifying development, launch requirements, and reducing costs. NODeS orbiting network provides flexible data collection and distribution, enabling satellites to work independently or as a group while any one satellite can transmit data to a ground station. Results help to advance design and operations for future satellite swarms and constellations.

Earth Applications
Single communications and research satellites have typically been large, heavy, and extremely costly to launch, but a large group of tennis ball can-sized satellites would enable cheaper and broader access to low-Earth orbit for researchers and industries. Tens or even hundreds of network-based satellites could work together and use any one satellite to communicate with the ground, improving data gathering capability for scientists and commercial users.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols

Deployed externally via the JEM A/L (Japanese Experimental Module Air Lock).

NanoRacks-NODeS is planned for launch to the ISS on an Antares launch vehicle from the Mid- Atlantic Regional Spaceport at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. CubeSats are delivered to the ISS already integrated within a NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD). The two NODeS satellites are slated to spend approximately four months aboard the ISS awaiting deployment to their orbit via the ISS’s NanoRacks Launcher System. When it is time for deployment, a crew member transfers each NRCSD from the launch vehicle to the JEM. Visual inspection for damage to each NRCSD is performed. CubeSat deployment operations begin when the NRCSDs are unpacked, mounted on the JAXA Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform (MPEP) and placed on the JEM airlock slide table for transfer outside the ISS. A crew member operates the JEM Remote Manipulating System (JRMS) to grapple and position the NRCSD for deployment. CubeSats are deployed when JAXA ground controllers command a specific NRCSD. The launch of the NODeS satellites mark the first launch of a 1.5U satellite from this launcher system and from the ISS.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites

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image NASA Image: ISS047E120450 - Photographic documentation of NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer Number 8 Deployment Operations. Photo was taken during Expedition 47.
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