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NASA Ames Adds Virtual Institute to Accelerate Collaboration on Small Spacecraft Systems

NASA CubeSatsdeployed

NASA recently announced the establishment of the Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute (S3VI), which will be hosted at NASA Ames Research Center in California and is designed to be the common portal for all of the space agency’s small spacecraft activities. Aimed at promoting innovation and identifying emerging technology opportunities, S3VI will provide a much-needed space among the agency, industry, academia and other federal agencies to collaborate and communicate about small spacecraft systems projects.

Scheduled to go live in early 2017, S3VI will provide a series of community activities and workshops to institutions and agencies working on small spacecraft technologies. The Institute will also coordinate with NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) on projects such as the Cube Quest Challenge and the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CLSI)—efforts that offer opportunities for university students and industry to fly small spacecraft as auxiliary payloads on NASA launches.

STMD associate administrator Steve Jurczyk explained that S3VI will bring a wealth of innovation opportunity to further research and technology development of NASA’s small spacecraft systems and advance the commercial space industry. “Over the past several years, NASA has increased the generation of new, innovative applications of small spacecraft, with several mission directorates using small spacecraft to meet their goals.”

In addition to using S3VI as a collaborative space to help smaller space companies flourish, other goals of the Institute include: 

  • Identify small spacecraft collaborative opportunities and NASA points of contact for the various small spacecraft activities across its agency centers
  • Host online resources on such as the Small Spacecraft Body of Knowledge (SSBK), a case studies library that centers around lessons learned from small spacecraft, a systems test data repository, best practices, and much more.

To learn more about S3VI, visit

To view the original NASA press release on S3VI, click here.

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