SpaceX to Launch CubeSat Containing “Soul” of First African American Astronaut


Image: Tavares Strachan/LACMA
An artist’s rendering depicts CubeSats being deployed from SpaceX’s SSO-A spacecraft.

A Falcon 9 rocket due to take off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California next week will launch a unique cargo into orbit alongside the usual communications and observation satellites—the “soul” of Robert Henry Lawrence Jr., the first African American astronaut.

The launch manifest for the SSO-A SmallSat Express mission, organized by Seattle-based Spaceflight Industries, lists a spacecraft called Enoch, owned by LACMA—the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. And for months, that was all that was publicly known about the satellite.

Now, IEEE Spectrum has learned that Enoch contains a…

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