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Nodes 1, 2

Nodes [NASA]

NASA's Nodes (Network & Operation Demonstration Satellite) is a mission to demonstrate new network capabilities critical to the operation of swarms of multiple spacecraft. The mission is a bonus mission in the Edison program.

The Nodes mission consists of two 1.5-unit CubeSat nanosatellites each weighing approximately 2 kilograms and measuring 10 centimeters by 10 centimeters by 17 centimeters. The Nodes spacecraft are derived from the hardware and software developed for the EDSN mission (a swarm of eight spacecraft). The satellites are mostly identical to the EDSN satellites, but with minor modifications for ISS deployment and an upgraded software. Each Node utilizes the Android operating system with EDSN-specific software programmed to perform command and data handling tasks that allow the satellites to:

  • relay ground commands through one satellite to the second satellite,
  • collect and relay science data on the radiation environment in the ISS orbit from each satellite to the ground station, and
  • 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 km above Earth. These same instruments will be utilized for the EDSN mission, but the altitude at which the EDSN swarm will orbit is 450 km above Earth.

Nodes was originally planned for launch to the ISS in October 2014 on the ill-fated Cygnus Orb-3 mission, but was delayed. The two satellites were launched in December 2015 onboard of Cygnus Orb-4 to the ISS, were they were deployed into orbit on 16 May 2016. The Nodes mission duration is approximately two weeks with orbital life reaching six months.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Technology
Operator: NASA Ames Research Center
Contractors: NASA Ames Research Center; Pumpkin (structure)
Configuration: CubeSat (1.5 U)
Propulsion: None
Power: Solar cells, batteries
Lifetime: 14 days (mission), 6 month orbital life
Mass: 2 kg
Orbit: 399 km × 402 km, 51.64°
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Nodes 1 1998-067HX 06.12.2015 CC SLC-41 Atlas-5(401) with Cygnus CRS-4, SIMPL, AggieSat 4, Bevo 2, Flock-2e 1, ..., 12, CADRE, MinXSS 1, Nodes 2, STMSat 1, SNAPS
Nodes 2 1998-067HY 06.12.2015 CC SLC-41 Atlas-5(401) with Cygnus CRS-4, SIMPL, AggieSat 4, Bevo 2, Flock-2e 1, ..., 12, CADRE, MinXSS 1, Nodes 1, STMSat 1, SNAPS