CuSP (CubeSat for Solar Particles)

Spacecraft name CuSP (CubeSat for Solar Particles)
Form factor CubeSat
Units or mass 6U
Status Was operational until 2022-11-16, half a day with a 1 hour of listen-only transmission (Official update on NASA blog on 2022-12-08 as of 2022-12-24)
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 Southwest Research Institute
Institution Institute
Entity Government (Civil / Military)
Nation US
Partners NASA

First protype of an interplanetary CubeSat space weather station to study solar particles.


Study Solar Particles. First protype of an interplanetary CubeSat space weather station. It will observe space weather events hours before they reach Earth.

  1. SIS – Suprathermal Ion Spectrograph 3-70 keV/q
  2. VHM – Vector Helium Magnetometer
  3. MERiT – Miniaturized Electron & pRoton Telescope 2-150 MeV/q

Returned telemetry for an hour shortly after its deployment but has not been heard from since. Ominously, the last data from the spacecraft showed a temperature spike in one of its batteries.

Carrier briefly detected, then lost. Spacecraft health in question. DSN used special SPK files + OLR to search.

Initial detection over DSS-25 only for 1 hour 16 minutes, with no subsequent detections. Residual frequencies, SNR, and sky frequency were sent to the NOPE and the CuSP spacecraft team, as well as a 1-MHz movie. Telemetry frames from 1-MHz backup recording confirmed that the signal was, in fact, CuSP. Further post-processing analyses found other signal detections in the data—these were found to be RFI from BIOS.

The Southwest Research Institute’s CuSP mission (red), whose intended destination was a heliocentric orbit, had a brief period of carrier detection by the DSN which was lost despite the use of special search techniques

Failure cause Was operating mostly as expected for the 1 hour contact. The solar arrays deployed, and they were stable and pointing at the Sun. However, anomalous software resets and temperature readings were reported during the contact.
Sources [1] [2] [3]
Photo sources [1] [2]
Keywords Propulsion, Beyond Earth orbit

Last modified: 2023-12-06

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