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February 20, 2019

Johns Hopkins APL Begins CAT CubeSat Experiment Following Launch from International Space Station

The twin CubeSat Assessment and Test

The twin CubeSat Assessment and Test, or CAT, satellites shown before launch at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. The CAT CubeSats were launched from the International Space Station (ISS) on Jan. 31.

Credit: APL

The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, has successfully established communications with two CubeSats, part of a flight demonstration mission led by APL called the CubeSat Assessment and Test, or CAT, which were launched from the International Space Station (ISS) on January 31.

APL used its 60-foot satellite dish to send and receive data with the two small spacecraft, launched at 5:28 a.m., and confirmed they were operating as designed at 3:07 p.m. The two CubeSats were among several launched from a NanoRacks CubeSat deployer on the ISS.

The 3U CubeSats are commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) spacecraft measuring 34 cm long and 10 cm square; each carries a communications payload that was integrated by APL. CAT was delivered to the ISS by the SpaceX CRS-16 Dragon launched by a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on December 5, 2018.

Johns Hopkins APL has built and launched 70 spacecraft in the last 60 years. CAT is the next project to demonstrate APL’s heritage of providing trusted and innovative small satellite solutions both rapidly and at low cost.

Media contact: Geoff Brown, 240-228-5618,

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit

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