SkyFire (spacecraft)

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SkyFire lunar CubeSat.jpg
Mission type Technology demo, reconnaisance
Operator Lockheed Martin
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft SkyFire
Spacecraft type CubeSat
Bus 6U
Manufacturer Lockeed Martin
Launch mass 14 kg (31 lb)
Dimensions 10×20×30 cm
Start of mission
Launch date November 2018
Rocket SLS Block 1
Launch site Kennedy LC-39B
Flyby of Moon

SkyFire is a planned nanosatellite spacecraft that will fly by the Moon and collect surface spectroscopy and thermography.


Its purpose is that of a Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) technology demonstration using a low-cost 6U CubeSat spacecraft. SkyFire will perform a lunar flyby, collecting spectroscopy and thermography for surface characterization, remote sensing, and site selection.[1] The spacecraft includes two deployable solar arrays and will have a total mass of about 14 kg (31 lb).

SkyFire was selected in April 2015 by NASA's NextSTEP program (Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships) and awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin Space systems worth $1.4 million for further development.[2][3][4]


It will fly along other 12 CubeSats as a secondary payload mission on the first flight of the Space Launch System, Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) scheduled to launch in 2018.[5]


SkyFire will also demonstrate a low thrust electric propulsion rocket engine technology called electrospray propulsion to lower the spacecraft's orbit for more science and technology mission objectives.[6]

See also


  1. Williams, Greg; Crusan, Jason (April 2015). "Pioneering Space –the Evolvable Mars Campaign" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 2015-05-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Morring, Frank (24 April 2015). "Habitats Could Be NASA's Next Commercial Spacecraft Buy". Aviation Week. Retrieved 2015-05-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Clark, Stephen (8 April 2015). "NASA adding to list of CubeSats flying on first SLS mission". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 2015-05-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Krebs, Gunter Dirk (19 May 2015). "Skyfire". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2015-05-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Space Launch System's First Flight to Send Small Sci-Tech Satellites Into Space. Space Ref. February 2, 2016
  6. "Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) Projects". NASA. NASA. May 5, 2015. Retrieved 2016-02-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>