Space Technology 5

Space Technology 5. Credit: NASA

Space Technology 5 was a NASA project that involved 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.


The mission was launched on 22 March 2006 by a Pegasus XL rocket from Vandenberg AFB into a near-Earth, Sun-synchronous polar orbit: perigee 300 km (186 mi), apogee 4,500 km (2,796 mi), inclination 105.6°, period 136 min. Nominal mission duration was 90 days. On 30 June 2006 the satellites making up ST5 were shut down after successfully completing their technology validation mission.


Each ST5 micro-sat weighed approximately 25 kg (55 lb) when fully fueled and resembled a large birthday cake 53 cm (20.7 in) across and 48 cm (18.7 inc) 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