BioSentinel Satellite

Spacecraft BioSentinel
Type CubeSat
Units or mass 6U
Status Operational (4S 2024 paper)
Launched 2022-11-16
NORAD ID ? (Not yet catalogued and tracked?)
Deployer CSD (Canisterized Satellite Dispenser) [Planetary Systems Corporation]
Launcher SLS (Space Launch System) (Artemis-1)
Entity name NASA Ames Research Center
Institution Space agency
Entity Government (Civil / Military)
Country US
Partners NASA Johnson Space Center, Loma Linda University Medical Center, University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Developing deep space CubeSat technologies and radiation biosensor to gauge DNA damage and repair beyond LEO.

  • Radiation Biosensor to Gauge DNA Damage and Repair Beyond Low Earth Orbit.
  • Develop a deep space nanosat capability.
  • Develop a radiation biosensor useful for other missions.
  • Define & validate SLS secondary payload interfaces and accommodations for a biological payload.
  • Linear Energy Transfer (LET) Spectrometer.
  • Total Ionizing Dose (TID) Dosimeter.
  • Quantify DNA damage from space radiation environment. Correlate biologic response with – Linear Energy Transfer (LET) and Total Ionizing Dose (TID) data. Yeast assay uses microfluidic arrays to monitor for DSBs.

NASA’s BioSentinel cubesat was tumbling after deployment. Still, controllers were able to stabilize the spacecraft and maintain contact with it as it flew by the moon to study the effects of radiation on microorganisms.

Over 100 successful comm passes and 3 experiments run to date as of May 2023 as per Interplanetary SmallSat Conference 2023.

NASA has decided to extend BioSentinel’s mission by up to an additional 18 months, or as late as November 2024, to continue collecting this valuable deep space radiation data in the unique, high-radiation environment beyond low Earth orbit. 

We are still able to downlink all detailed bus and radiation data at our highest data rates through April 2024 on 34m stations. After that time, our spacecraft’s distance to Earth will have increased so far that our link budget requires either 70m stations or we will have to selectively prioritize data at slower downlink rates.

As of April 2024, the BioSentinel mission has completed its first year and a half of ongoing spacecraft operations and measurements successfully. The flight dynamics team has guided the spacecraft from its deployment in Earth orbit, through a lunar flyby and to its final science orbit, in an Earth-trailing heliocentric orbit. Since then, the tracking data has been processed regularly every few weeks, showing an stable orbit configuration.

Sources [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]
Photo sources [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
COTS subsystems
  • ADCS - Blue Canyon XACT
Subsystems sources [1]
Keywords Propulsion, Beyond Earth orbit
On the same launch

Last modified: 2024-05-29

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Created by Erik Kulu


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