PICASSO (PICASSO-BEL, Pico-Satellite for Atmospheric and Space Science Observations)

Name PICASSO (PICASSO-BEL, Pico-Satellite for Atmospheric and Space Science Observations)
Type CubeSat
Units or mass 3U
Status Operational (Official post on social media on 2020-09-03)
Launched 2020-09-02
NORAD ID 46281
Deployer QuadPack (XL) [ISISpace]
Launcher Vega (Small Satellite Mission Service)
Organisation Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy and the Royal Observatory of Belgium.
Institution Institute
Entity Government (Civil / Military)
Nation (HQ) Belgium
Nation (AIT) UK
Manufacturer AIVT by AAC Clyde Space
Operator AAC Clyde Space
Partners Clyde Space, VTT, CSL, Tekes

Retrieve vertical profiles of ozone via Sun occultation and study the ionosphere.


Measure ozone distribution in the stratosphere, estimate the temperature profile up to the mesosphere, and characterise the plasma in the ionosphere. 

Demonstrate a scientific capacity for atmospheric remote sensing with VISION (the hyper-spectral imager) and in situ measurements with SLP (Sweeping Langmuir Probe). This capacity is also strategic for planetary exploration. 2 scientific experiments for Earth observation. VISION, to retrieve vertical profiles of ozone and t°, via Sun occultation. SLP, to study the ionosphere (e-, ions and t°).

Sweeping Langmuir Probe will measure electron density and temperature in the plasma around the satellite. Ozone in the high atmosphere is critical for life on Earth as it shields the Sun's UV radiation, so accurate and timely information about its density is critical for humanity. PICASSO aims to show that such measurements can be successfully done with very small satellites.

Sources [1] [2]
Photo sources [1] [2] [3]
COTS subsystems
  • OBSW - Bright Ascension
  • MCS - Bright Ascension
  • PLATFORM - Clyde Space
  • OBC - Clyde Space with GPS
  • STAR TRACKER - Berlin Space Technologies (BST) ST200
  • ADCS - Clyde Space
  • ADM - Clyde Space Deployable Turnstile Antenna
  • BATTERY - Clyde Space
  • EPS - Clyde Space
  • SOLAR PANELS - Clyde Space
  • STRUCTURE - Clyde Space
  • RWS - Clyde Space
  • SUN SENSOR - Solar MEMS NanoSSOC-D60
Subsystems sources [1]

Last modified: 2023-06-09
Detailed PICASSO entry in the Database
Full Nanosats Database (much more data)

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Created by Erik Kulu

Email: erik.kulu@nanosats.eu
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