REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Four U.S. Army nanosatellites were launched into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on an Atlas V at 11:14 p.m. PST. This launch is part of the Army's continuing effort to develop low-cost space support capabilities thru the evolution of advanced nanosatellite technologies and concepts.

This is the fourth launch of U.S. Army built nanosatellites and is part of the Government Experimental Multi-Satellite (GEMSat) Program. The satellites will remain on orbit for several years supporting Army experiments and demonstrations before reentering the Earth's atmosphere. The inexpensive nanosatellites are designed as cost effective research platforms and will not survive reentry after their relatively short orbital life.

The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is leading the Army initiative to explore cost effective space support options through the utilization of nanosatellite platforms. A nanosatellite on this flight is a SMDC Nano-satellite Program-3 (SNaP-3) Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstration.

The GEMSat program is part of a continuing evolution of Army nanosatellite capabilities which started with the first SMDC-ONE nanosatellite launch in January 2010 and was followed by the launch of additional SMDC-ONE nanosatellites in September 2012. This series of nanosatellites represents the first U.S. Army designed and built satellites in more than 50 years.

For more information contact Mr. John H. Cummings III, SMDC Public Affairs Office, john.h.cummings6@us.army.mil, (256) 955-1641.