The University of Colorado was selected to contribute one of 24 miniature satellites, known as CubeSats, to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard rocket missions scheduled to launch in 2014, 2015 and 2016, NASA announced Tuesday.

CubeSats, as described by NASA, belong to a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. They measure about 4 inches on each side, are about 1 quart in volume and can weigh less than 3 pounds.

The selections announced on Tuesday represent the fourth round of NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative. Those selected in the this round will be eligible for flight after final negotiations and when an opportunity for flight is available. The satellites conduct science missions, educational research and technology demonstrations, and usually are the product of significant student contributions.

Other institutions with CubeSat proposals selected by NASA in the latest round come from institutions as diverse as NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., and Merritt Island High School, Fla. (in partnership with California Polytechnic State University).

NASA has selected 63 missions for flight in three previous rounds of the CubeSat initiative, Twenty-two CubeSat missions are scheduled for flight this year.

This is not the first time CU has been selected to participate in the CubeSat missions. The Colorado Student Space Weather Experiment, a collaborative effort between the engineering department and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics aimed at studying solar flares, launched last year on an Atlas V rocket along with 10 other CubeSat satellites.