NASA’s ELaNa XX: Small Satellites with Big Goals

On Jan. 17, 2021, Virgin Orbit’s “Cosmic Girl” carrier aircraft took to the skies, leaving from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. Attached to the underside of its left wing was the company’s LauncherOne rocket – one of two venture-class vehicles NASA chose to give CubeSats a ride to space – carrying, for the first time ever, a payload of 10 NASA-sponsored satellites for the agency’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites-20 mission. At 35,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean, LauncherOne was released from Cosmic Girl, beginning the mission journey for 10 small satellites with big goals.

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