CubeSat for Solar Particles


CubeSat for Solar Particles (CuSP)
Mission typeTechnology, reconnaissance
OperatorSouthwest Research Institute
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type6U CubeSat
ManufacturerSouthwest Research Institute
Launch mass14 kg (31 lb)
Dimensions10×20×30 cm
Start of mission
Launch date2021[1]
RocketSLS Block 1
Launch siteKennedy LC-39B
Orbital parameters
Reference systemheliocentric
Flyby of Moon
NameMiniaturized Electron and Proton Telescope (MERiT)
Suprathermal Ion Spectrograph (SIS)
Vector Helium Magnetometer (VHM)

CubeSat for Solar Particles (CuSP) is a planned nanosatellite spacecraft that will study the dynamic particles and magnetic fields that stream from the Sun.[2][3]

CuSP is a low-cost 6U CubeSat nanosatellite that once deployed, will orbit the Sun, measuring incoming radiation that can create a wide variety of effects at Earth, from interfering with radio communications to tripping up satellite electronics to creating electric currents in power grids. The principal investigator for CuSP is Mihir Desai, at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.[2] It will fly on the maiden flight of the Space Launch System, as a secondary payload of the Artemis 1 mission planned to launch in 2021.[4]


To create a network of space weather stations would require many instruments scattered throughout space millions of miles apart, but the cost of such a system is prohibitive.[2] Though the CubeSats can only carry a few instruments, they are relatively inexpensive to launch because of their small mass and standardized design. So, CuSP also serves as a test for creating a network of space science stations.[2]


This CubeSat will carry three scientific instruments:[2][3]

  1. The Suprathermal Ion Spectrograph (SIS), is built by the Southwest Research Institute to detect and characterize low-energy solar energetic particles.
  2. Miniaturized Electron and Proton Telescope (MERiT), will return counts of high-energy solar energetic particles.
  3. Vector Helium Magnetometer (VHM), being built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will measure the strength and direction of magnetic fields.

The satellite features a cold gas thruster system for propulsion, attitude control (orientation) and orbital maneuvering.[5]

See also

The 13 CubeSats flying in the Artemis 1 mission


  1. ^ Berger, Eric (17 July 2019). "NASA's large SLS rocket unlikely to fly before at least late 2021". Ars Technica. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Heliophysics CubeSat to Launch on NASAs SLS". NASA. February 2, 2016. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  3. ^ a b Messier, Doug (February 5, 2016). "SwRI CubeSat to Explore Deep Space". Parabolic ARC. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  4. ^ Berger, Eric (17 July 2019). "NASA's large SLS rocket unlikely to fly before at least late 2021". Ars Technica. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  5. ^ CuSP Propulsion.. VACCO Propulsion Systems. 2017.