Lunar IceCube (Lunar Ice Cube Orbiter)

Lunar IceCube
Lunar IceCube
Lunar IceCube
Lunar IceCube
Lunar IceCube
Name Lunar IceCube (Lunar Ice Cube Orbiter)
Type CubeSat
Units or mass 6U
Status Was operational for 1 hour? (Contact made as reported by NASA on Twitter on 2022-11-17 but orbit needs confirmation 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 Morehead State University
Institution University
Entity type Academic / Education
Headquarters US
Partners Busek Company, Catholic University of America (CUA), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Prospect for water ice and other lunar volatiles from a low-perigee lunar orbit


Prospect for water ice and other lunar volatiles from a low-perigee lunar orbit flying only 100 km (62 miles) above the lunar surface. Use an innovative RF Ion engine to achieve lunar capture and the science orbit to allow the team to make systematic measurements of lunar water features. The science goals are to investigate the distribution of water and other volatiles, as a function of time of day, latitude, and regolith composition/mineralogy.


Made contact with controllers shortly after deployment. However, in a Nov. 29 update, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center said that the mission team was “continuing its attempts to communicate with the CubeSat so that it can be placed into its science orbit in the coming days.” NASA has not provided an update since then, and the mission’s principal investigator at Morehead State University did not respond to a request for comment.

Carrier briefly detected (~ 1 hr) with large frequency offset, then lost.

Acquisition over DSS-25 at DSS-25’s official BOT (320/12:50). No explanation for lack of detection at DSS-53. Loss of signal at 13:50:21. No further acquisitions. RS provided post-processed data and supported continued tracks for 3 weeks after the launch event.

The Lunar IceCube (red) mission from the Morehead State University had a brief period of about one hour of signal carrier detection with a large offset from the predicted frequency prior to the loss of the mission.

Sources [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]
Photo sources [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
COTS subsystems
  • ADCS - Blue Canyon XACT
  • THRUSTER - Busek BIT-3
  • SOLAR PANELS - Pumpkin
  • EPS - Pumpkin
  • OBC - Space Micro Proton 400K Lite
Subsystems sources [1] [2] [3]
Keywords Propulsion, Beyond Earth orbit

Last modified: 2023-12-22

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