|Operator||University of Michigan|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||28 October 2011|
|Rocket||Delta II 7920-10C|
|Launch site||Vandenberg SLC-2W|
|Argument of perigee||355.7858°|
|Mean motion||14.90323087 orbits/day|
|Epoch||July 7, 2014|
M-Cubed is a miniaturized satellite built by students at the University of Michigan in joint project run by the Michigan Exploration Laboratory (MXL) and JPL . It is an example of the popular CubeSat design for amateur satellites. It was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on October 28, 2011 atop a Delta II rocket. M-Cubed was launched as a secondary payload to the Suomi NPP satellite, along with AubieSat-1, DICE-1, DICE-2, Explorer-1 Prime, and RAX-2.
M-Cubed, short for Michigan Multipurpose Minisat, was designed as a technology demonstrator for a new FPGA-based image processing system intended for a future NASA mission, Aerosol-Cloud-Ecosystem, recommended by the Earth Science Decadal Survey. The mission was also intended to validate the satellite bus design for use in future cubesat missions. The satellite uses a passive magnetorquer for attitude control, consisting of a large permanent magnet that aligns the satellite with the Earth's magnetic field. On-board control is provided by a Taskit Stamp9G20 microcontroller running Real time Linux.
Following launch, MXL was unable to command M-Cubed, and observed anomalies in its transmitted data. MXL concluded that the M-Cubed CubeSat became magnetically conjoined to Explorer-1 Prime, a second CubeSat released at the same time, via both satellites' attitude control magnets. This is the first recorded instance of two satellites unintentionally and non-destructively latching together; however, as a result of this incident M-Cubed was unable to complete its mission.
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