SkyFire (spacecraft)

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SkyFire lunar CubeSat.jpg
Mission typeTechnology demo, reconnaissance
OperatorLockheed Martin
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeCubeSat
ManufacturerLockheed Martin
Launch mass14 kg (31 lb)
Dimensions10×20×30 cm
Start of mission
Launch date2020[1]
RocketSLS Block 1
Launch siteKennedy LC-39B
Flyby of Moon

SkyFire is a planned nanosatellite spacecraft that will fly by the Moon and collect surface spectroscopy and thermography. It is scheduled to fly on the Space Launch System, Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) scheduled to launch in 2020.


Its purpose is that of a Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) technology demonstration using a low-cost 6U CubeSat spacecraft. SkyFire will perform a lunar flyby, collecting spectroscopy and thermography for surface characterization, remote sensing, and site selection.[2] The spacecraft includes two deployable solar arrays and will have a total mass of about 14 kg (31 lb).

SkyFire was selected in April 2015 by NASA's NextSTEP program (Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships) and awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin Space systems worth $1.4 million for further development.[3][4][5]


SkyFire will fly along other 12 CubeSats as a secondary payload mission on the first flight of the Space Launch System, Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) scheduled to launch in 2020.[1]


SkyFire will also demonstrate a low thrust electric propulsion technology called electrospray propulsion to lower the spacecraft's orbit for additional science and technology mission objectives.[6]

See also[edit]

The 13 CubeSats flying in the Exploration Mission 1


  1. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (28 April 2017). "NASA confirms first flight of Space Launch System will slip to 2019". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
  2. ^ Williams, Greg; Crusan, Jason (April 2015). "Pioneering Space –the Evolvable Mars Campaign" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 2015-05-26.
  3. ^ Morring, Frank (24 April 2015). "Habitats Could Be NASA's Next Commercial Spacecraft Buy". Aviation Week. Retrieved 2015-05-26.
  4. ^ Clark, Stephen (8 April 2015). "NASA adding to list of CubeSats flying on first SLS mission". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 2015-05-25.
  5. ^ Krebs, Gunter Dirk (19 May 2015). "Skyfire". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2015-05-26.
  6. ^ "Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) Projects". NASA. NASA. May 5, 2015. Retrieved 2016-02-05.