CubeSat for Solar Particles

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CubeSat for Solar Particles
Mission typeTechnology demonstration, reconnaissance, Space Weather
OperatorSouthwest Research Institute (SwRI)
COSPAR ID Edit this at Wikidata
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type6U CubeSat
BusSwRI Custom Design
ManufacturerSouthwest Research Institute (SwRI)
Launch mass10.2 kg (22 lb)
Dimensions10 cm × 20 cm × 30 cm
Power45.46 watts
Start of mission
Launch dateAugust 2022 (planned)
RocketSLS Block 1
Launch siteKSC, LC-39B
Orbital parameters
Reference systemHeliocentric orbit
Flyby of Moon
Suprathermal Ion Spectrograph (SIS)
Miniaturized Electron and Proton Telescope (MERiT)
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.[1][2]

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 (SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas.[1] It will fly on the maiden flight of the Space Launch System (SLS), as a secondary payload of the Artemis 1 mission planned to launch in 2022.[3][4]

Team CuSP Delivers the CubeSat to NASA
The CuSP Team delivers the Cubesat to NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Shown are (left to right) Mike Epperly, Project Manager, Don George, Mission Engineer, and Chad Loeffler, Flight Software Engineer.


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.[1] 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.[1]


This CubeSat will carry three scientific instruments:[1][2]

  • The Suprathermal Ion Spectrograph (SIS), is built by the Southwest Research Institute to detect and characterize low-energy solar energetic particles.
  • Miniaturized Electron and Proton Telescope (MERiT), will return counts of high-energy solar energetic particles.
  • 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.[5]

Where is CuSP now?[edit]

CuSP is currently sitting on the SLS launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. T-16 days and counting the Pow, right to the Moon ... and beyond..

See also[edit]

The 10 CubeSats flying in the Artemis 1 mission
The CuSP Cubesat to Study Solar Particles is instrumented and placed in the Thermal Vacuum Chamber.
The 3 CubeSat missions removed from Artemis 1
Raymond and the CuSP CubeSat
The Principal Technician for CuSP, Raymond Doty, makes final 'Pack and Ship' preparations for the CubeSat for Solar Particles (CuSP). Next Stop Kennedy....


Dr. Desai and the CuSP CubeSat.
Dr. Mihir Desai, Principal Investigator, shows off the CuSP CubeSat
  1. ^ a b c d e "Heliophysics CubeSat to Launch on NASAs SLS". NASA. 2 February 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2021. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ a b Messier, Doug (5 February 2016). "SwRI CubeSat to Explore Deep Space". Parabolic ARC. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  3. ^ Harbaugh, Jennifer (23 July 2021). "Artemis I CubeSats will study the Moon, solar radiation". NASA. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  4. ^ Clark, Stephen (12 October 2021). "Adapter structure with 10 CubeSats installed on top of Artemis moon rocket". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  5. ^ "CuSP Propulsion System". VACCO Propulsion Systems. 2017. Retrieved 12 March 2021.