(Xinhua) China’s Tianzhou-1 cargo spacecraft on Tuesday successfully released a cube satellite (CubeSat) while in orbit, according to China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASTC).Signals from the CubeSat were received by ground technicians right after the release, said the CASTC.
The CubeSat was launched inside the Tianzhou-1 from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China’s Hainan Province on April 20.After 104 days, the CubeSat was released by the cargo spacecraft.
It was the first time China has released a CubeSat by an in-orbit spacecraft. Traditionally, the CubeSat is released during the launch.The test release has laid a technical foundation for China’s future space station to launch more micro/nano-satellites and provide other in-orbit services.
Like a Rubik’s cube, a CubeSat is a satellite composed of smaller cubic units. Depending on its different uses, a CubeSat may contain two, three or more such units.
Compared with other integral satellites, cube spacecraft are generally smaller, lighter and much more economical in development and production costs.