NASA has selected Astra Space, Relativity Space and Firefly Black to launch different types of small satellites under contracts with a combined value of $16.7M.
The companies will send to space nanosatellites, CubeSats and other types of small satellites under the Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 effort, the space agency said Saturday.
The initiative also seeks to look into the risks of using new launch vehicles for future small spacecraft and missions and to help address them.
Astra Space, Relativity Space and Firefly Black received contracts worth $3.9M, $3M and $9.8M, respectively, from NASA's Launch Services Program.
The Earth science unit within the space agency's Science Mission Directorate helped the program fund these contracts that will also support the CubeSat Launch Initiative, an effort ran by NASA for universities, high schools and non-profit organizations looking to gain hands-on flight hardware development experience.
Smallsats serve as lower-cost tools for NASA missions and can be used to test launches with higher degrees of risk.