MiniCOR Satellite

Spacecraft MiniCOR (Miniature CORonagraph)
Spacecraft type CubeSat
Units or mass 12U
Status not launched, expected in 2027
Launcher not launched
Organization ?
Institution Company
Entity Commercial
Nation (HQ) US
Nation (AIT) Italy
Manufacturer AIVT by Argotec
Operator Argotec
Partners The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory,, Naval Research Laboratory, Space Science Research Corporation

Demonstrate capturing high-cadence, high-quality solar imagery with equal or superior sensitivity to existing solar coronagraphs.


MiniCOR, designed as a cost-effective solution, seeks to demonstrate its capabilities by capturing high-cadence, high-quality solar imagery with equal or superior sensitivity to existing solar coronagraphs. In contrast to conventional large-scale instruments like the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraphs (LASCO), MiniCOR’s compact size and efficient design allow for swift assembly, testing, and deployment.

The mission’s primary purpose is to demonstrate that miniaturized optical instruments can perform equally well and even outclass conventional designs, whether operational (e.g., Compact CORonagraph; CCOR) or sciencegrade (e.g., Narrow Field Imager (NFI) of the PUNCH spacecraft). A successful demonstration of MiniCOR will pave the way for constellations of low-cost coronagraphs at optimal viewing points, such as the Sun-Earth Lagrange points, out-of-the ecliptic, or cis-lunar orbits.

MiniCOR leverages three key developments: the miniaturization of spacecraft systems for CubeSat applications, advancements in large-format scientific Active Pixel Sensor (APS) detectors, and the experience gained from developing imaging systems for volume- and mass-constrained missions such as Solar Orbiter and Parker Solar Probe. MiniCOR will capture slow solar wind, coronal mass ejections, and shocks in the inner corona (2.5-20 Rs) with a 4-minute cadence, outperforming existing missions like SOHO and STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory). The expected 6 months of operations provide ample opportunity to achieve technical objectives and to address broader scientific goals, finding among the foremost ones the understanding of small-scale structures in the corona and improving understanding of CME kinematics.

The collaborative effort behind MiniCOR Phase A, in development under the NASA Heliophysics Flight Opportunities for Research and Technology (H-FORT) program, involves the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) with a significant heritage in challenging space instrumentation and mission development, the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) contributing expertise in coronagraph development, and Argotec Inc., a leader in CubeSat systems, responsible for developing, manufacturing, and operating the spacecraft. In fact, the spacecraft is based on Argotec’s HAWK platform, successfully implemented in LICIACube and ArgoMoon deep space missions. APL and NRL will jointly analyse the data and publish results, further solidifying MiniCOR's impact in advancing solar research. The combined expertise of these institutions provides excellent premises for the future success of the mission, offering new insights into solar phenomena and further solidifying smallsats impact in advancing solar research.

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Last modified: 2024-05-29

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