Space.com has run a piece on the National Science Foundation cubesat solicitation for proposals to do atmospheric research:
The first solicitation for mission proposals in the new NSF program was issued in late February, resulting in proposals for 29 CubeSat science missions, explained Therese Moretto Jorgensen, program director in the Upper Atmospheric Research Section of NSF's Geosciences Directorate, Division of Atmospheric Sciences.
'If anybody thought that these CubeSats would not do things ... this set of proposals just proved everybody so wrong,' Jorgensen told SPACE.com. 'There are a lot of questions in space weather research that are still being struggled with ... even though we've been flying satellites for many years now,' she said. Furthermore, the NSF program is meant to help train the next generation of experimental space scientists and aerospace engineers, she added....
The NSF will spend $500,000 to start the program, Jorgensen said, but her wish is to add another $1 million in 2009. 'We hope to start a pipeline of missions depending on how the budget turns out for 2009. We will start fast or slow, but we are committed to start a pipeline.'
The goal of the NSF program is to construct a five- to 10-year program with annual proposal competitions. The CubeSat support is a first step, she said. Another goal is to secure a series of regular, low-cost launches, spawned by establishing partnerships with other government agencies and private industry, Jorgensen said.
One of the issues yet to be addressed is three-axis stabilization of the small satellites, a problem, as Gerard Aalbers explains, at least one program is set to tackle.