CubeSat for Solar Particles

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CubeSat for Solar Particles (CuSP)
Mission type Technology, reconnaissance
Operator Southwest Research Institute
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type 6U CubeSat
Manufacturer Southwest Research Institute
Launch mass 14 kg (31 lb)
Dimensions 10×20×30 cm
Start of mission
Launch date December 2019[1]
Rocket SLS Block 1
Launch site Kennedy LC-39B
Orbital parameters
Reference system heliocentric
Flyby of Moon
Name Miniaturized Electron and Proton Telescope (MERiT)
Suprathermal Ion Spectrograph (SIS)
Vector Helium Magnetometer (VHM)

CubeSat for Solar Particles (CuSP) is a planned nanosatellite spacecraft that will study the dynamic particles and magnetic fields that stream from the Sun.[2][3]

CuSP is a low-cost 6U CubeSat nanosatellite that once deployed, will orbit the Sun, measuring incoming radiation that can create a wide variety of effects at Earth, from interfering with radio communications to tripping up satellite electronics to creating electric currents in power grids. The principal investigator for CuSP is Mihir Desai, at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.[2] It will fly as a secondary payload mission on the first flight of the Space Launch System, Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) scheduled to launch in 2019.[1]


To create a network of space weather stations would require many instruments scattered throughout space millions of miles apart, but the cost of such a system is prohibitive.[2] Though the CubeSats can only carry a few instruments, they are relatively inexpensive to launch because of their small mass and standardized design. So, CuSP also serves as a test for creating a network of space science stations.[2]


This CubeSat will carry three scientific instruments:[2][3]

  1. The Suprathermal Ion Spectrograph (SIS), is built by the Southwest Research Institute to detect and characterize low-energy solar energetic particles.
  2. Miniaturized Electron and Proton Telescope (MERiT), will return counts of high-energy solar energetic particles.
  3. Vector Helium Magnetometer (VHM), being built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will measure the strength and direction of magnetic fields.

The satellite features a cold gas thruster system for propulsion, attitude control (orientation) and orbital maneuvering.[4]

See also

The 13 CubeSats flying in the Exploration Mission 1


  1. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (28 April 2017). "NASA confirms first flight of Space Launch System will slip to 2019". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Heliophysics CubeSat to Launch on NASAs SLS". NASA. February 2, 2016. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  3. ^ a b Messier, Doug (February 5, 2016). "SwRI CubeSat to Explore Deep Space". Parabolic ARC. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  4. ^ CuSP Propulsion.. VACCO Propulsion Systems. 2017.
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