Spaceflight has secured a contract from Nasa to provide integration and launch services for the Low-Latitude Ionosphere/Thermosphere Enhancements in Density (LLITED) mission.

Under this contract, Spaceflight will launch the two identical 1.5U CubeSats to low-Earth orbit at the end of the year.

The CubeSats will be carried by the company’s Sherpa-LTC orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) aboard SpaceX’s two-stage-to-orbit medium-lift launch vehicle Falcon 9.

Spaceflight’s Sherpa-LTC will be powered by chemical propulsion from Benchmark Space Systems, marking its initial spacecraft deployments.

The vehicle will then ignite and manoeuvre to another orbital destination to deploy the Nasa CubeSats.

Spaceflight government business development director Valerie Skarupa said: “Spaceflight’s full-service offering with our portfolio of Sherpa OTVs vehicles greatly increases the scientific opportunities for Nasa, universities, and other organisations that require deployments to non-traditional orbital destinations.

“We’ve enjoyed a long relationship with Nasa, launching nearly 20 spacecraft for the organisation over the years, and are focused on helping them get their spacecraft exactly where they need to be on orbit. This opportunity is especially rewarding as the award recognised Spaceflight’s experience with in-space transportation systems.”

Nasa’s LLITED is designed to investigate the equatorial temperature and wind anomaly (ETWA) in the neutral atmosphere, as well as the equatorial ionization anomaly (EIA).

The mission is a grant awarded to The Aerospace Corporation through Nasa’s Division of Heliophysics in the Science Mission Directorate.

Spaceflight was contracted as the prime contractor to Nasa for the mission while the launch service is led by Nasa’s Kennedy Space Centre Launch Services Program.

Other members of the LLITED team includes scientists and engineers from The Aerospace Corporation, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and the University of New Hampshire.

In January, Spaceflight successfully deployed 15 spacecraft from its first next-gen OTV (Sherpa-FX) on the record-breaking SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter-1 launch.