Space Technology 5

Space Technology 5. Credit: NASA

Space Technology 5 is a NASA project that involves three identical small satellites, functioning as a single 'string-of-pearls' constellation, to test new technologies and accurate multi-point measurement gathering in space. All three micro-sats were built and tested at Goddard Space Flight Center. Space Technology 5 (ST5) is a project of NASA's New Millennium Program.


The mission was launched on March 22, 2006 by a Pegasus XL rocket from Vandenberg AFB into a near-Earth, Sun-synchronous polar orbit: perigee 300 kilometers (186 miles), apogee 4,500 kilometers (2,796 miles), inclination 105.6°, period 136 minutes. During flight validation of its technologies, ST5 may measure the effect of solar activity on the Earth's magnetosphere. Nominal mission duration is 90 days.


Each ST5 micro-sat weighs approximately 25 kilograms (55 pounds) when fully fueled and resembles a large birthday cake 53 centimeters (20.7 inches) across and 48 centimeters (18.7 inches) high.


Major technologies include:

  • Cold Gas Micro Thruster (CGMT)
  • X-Band Transponder
  • Variable Emittance Coatings for Thermal Control
  • CMOS Ultra-Low Power Radiation Tolerant Logic (CULPRiT)

  • Other technologies include:

  • Miniature magnetometer
  • Miniature spinning sun sensor
  • Spacecraft deployment mechanism
  • Magnetometer deployment boom Nutation Damper