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. It will fly as a secondary payload mission on the first flight of the Space Launch System, Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) scheduled to launch in 2018.
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. Though the CubeSats can only carry a few instruments apiece, 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.
- The Suprathermal Ion Spectrograph (SIS), is built by the Southwest Research Institute to detect and characterize low-energy solar energetic particles.
- Miniaturized Electron and Proton Telescope (MERiT), will return counts of high-energy solar energetic particles.
- Vector Helium Magnetometer (VHM), being built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will measure the strength and direction of magnetic fields.
- Other CubeSats to be launched together
- Lunar Flashlight
- Lunar IceCube
- Lunar Polar Hydrogen Mapper
- Near-Earth Asteroid Scout
- SkyFire (spacecraft)
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