LINUSS are two of the most capable CubeSats in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) today. Both LM-50 12U CubeSats are operated by Lockheed Martin using a mission electro-optical payload deck and a 12U bus developed by Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, a Terran Orbital Company. With a bus based on Terran Orbital’s heritage trestles platform, each spacecraft is also equipped with a low-toxicity thruster system and fully redundant critical bus subsystems to ensure the safety of flight during Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO). LINUSS is one of several RPO missions supported by Terran Orbital, including NASA’s CPOD mission, which is currently conducting RPO experiments in orbit, and IPERDRONE, a Tyvak International mission for the Italian Space Agency (ASI).
The LINUSS mission demonstrates how small CubeSats can upgrade satellite constellations in orbit to extend spacecraft design lives for regular servicing missions. The spacecraft are designed to confirm maneuvering and Space Domain Awareness capabilities with exacting standards in systems engineering—hardware and software—working in unison. The two spacecraft utilize Innoflight high-performance processing, VACCO low-toxicity propulsion, inertial measurement units, machine vision, 3-D printed components, and SmartSat™ (transformational on-orbit software upgrade architecture), technologies by Lockheed Martin.
Falcon Heavy is a partially reusable super heavy-lift launch vehicle manufactured and launched by SpaceX, an American aerospace manufacturer. The rocket consists of a center core on which two Falcon 9 boosters are attached, and a second stage on top of the center core. Falcon Heavy has the second highest payload capacity of any currently operational launch vehicle behind NASA’s Space Launch System, and the fourth-highest capacity of any rocket to reach orbit, trailing behind SLS, Energia and the Saturn V.