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NASA Stennis Celebrates Milestone for Historic Autonomous Systems Mission

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NASA’s Stennis Space Center and Sidus Space, Inc., marked another milestone February 15 for the Center’s first-ever in-flight autonomous systems software mission as a payload rider on the Sidus Space LizzieSatTM small satellite.

“Each step brings us a step closer to deployment of ASTRA (Autonomous Satellite Technology for Resilient Applications) in space,” said Chris Carmichael, NASA Stennis Autonomous Systems Laboratory (ASL) Branch Chief. “We are excited with the progress as we continue to collaborate with Sidus Space on this truly historic mission for the Center.”

The ASTRA mission involves an autonomous systems hardware/software payload developed at NASA Stennis as a technology demonstrator in space aboard the Sidus Space premier satellite, LizzieSat TM -1 (LS-1). Sidus Space is responsible for the launch, deployment, and mission operation of the LS-1 satellite.

At some stage during the overall satellite mission that could last as long as two years, the NASA Stennis team will send commands to the Sidus Space flight computer to autonomously conduct targeted mission objectives with the ASTRA system. 

In preparation for the scheduled launch of the LS-1 mission this spring, officials at the Sidus Space integration facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida, reported it has completed integration testing of the ASTRA flight unit with the LS-1 satellite.

Sidus Space worked with members of the NASA Stennis ASL team to complete extensive integration and communications testing of the flight unit. The testing verified unit functionality, as well as the ability of the ASL team to upload software to the flight unit.

The latest achievement comes on the heels of a December milestone in which the ASL team completed a Flight Readiness Review of the baseline ASTRA flight software. Sidus Space is scheduled to launch the LS-1 satellite on the SpaceX Transporter 10, Falcon 9 rocket, this spring. LS-1 will be among dozens of small satellites launched on the SpaceX rocket. The LS-1 satellite is carrying six payloads to space, one of which is ASTRA.

The ASTRA project began as a proposal by early career employees at NASA Stennis and continues as a partnership project between the Center and Sidus Space. It marks the first time NASA Stennis ever has flown hardware/software into space.

For information about NASA’s Stennis Space Center, visit:

Stennis Space Center – NASA

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