Cosmic X-ray Background Nanosatellite-2
CXBN-2 deployment from the International Space Station
Deployment of CXBN-2 with IceCube
Mission typeX-ray astronomy
OperatorMorehead State University
COSPAR ID1998-067LM[1]
SATCAT no.42704[2]
Mission durationApril 18, 2017 – March 1, 2019 (2017-04-18 – 2019-03-01)
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type2U CubeSat
ManufacturerMorehead State University
Dry mass2.8kg
Dimensions10 x 10 x 20 cm
Start of mission
Launch dateApril 18, 2017 (2017-04-18)
RocketULA Atlas-5 401
Launch siteCape Canaveral Space Launch Complex 41
ContractorUnited Launch Alliance via ELaNa
Deployed fromInternational Space Station
Deployment dateMay 16, 2017 (2017-05-16)
End of mission
Last contactMarch 1, 2019 (2019-03-01)[3]
Decay dateMarch 1, 2019 (2019-03-01)
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Altitude~400 kilometres (250 mi)[4]
BandUHF, S band
Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) detector, magnetometer

Cosmic X-ray Background Nanosatellite-2 (CXBN-2 or CXBN 2) was a satellite and mission developed by the Morehead State University to follow up on the CXBN mission launched in 2012. It was an improved version of the previous spacecraft and it increased the precision of measurements of the cosmic X-ray background in the 30-50 keV range and helped to improve understanding of the early universe.[5][6]


The CXBN-2 mission was created in order to map the extragalactic cosmic X-ray background with the use of a Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) detector. Compared to its predecessor, its CZT detector had twice the detection area. It allowed for a new, high-precision measurement of the X-ray background.[4] It helped improve understanding of the origin and evolution of the universe through research on high-energy background radiation. It collected 3 million seconds of data throughout its lifetime.[5]


The CXBN-2 satellite was a Sun-pointing spin-stabilized 2U CubeSat which had four solar panels which provided 15W of power. It had a 2-wall structure and braces to reinforce its body. When it was in its compact form, it occupied a volume of 10 x 10 x 20cm.

It had two transceivers in the Ultra high frequency and S bands for radio communication.[4]


CXBN-2 contained a Cadmium Zinc Telluride Array as its X-ray detector and a magnetometer on board.[4]

Launch and mission

Main article: Cygnus OA-7

Launch of Cygnus OA-7

Cygnus OA-7 launched on April 18, 2017 as the eighth flight of the Cygnus Orbital ATK uncrewed orbital spacecraft and its seventh flight to the International Space Station (ISS) under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services.[7] On April 22, 2017, the Cygnus spacecraft docked with the ISS.[8]

On May 16, 2017, the CXBN-2 satellite was deployed from the ISS via the Nanoracks CubeSat Deployer along with several other CubeSats.[9] On March 1, 2019, it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere.[3]


  1. ^ "CXBN 1, 2 (Unbridled Spirit)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2021-12-04.
  2. ^ "Technical details for satellite CXBN-2". - Real Time Satellite Tracking and Predictions. Retrieved 2021-12-06.
  3. ^ a b Kulu, Erik. "CXBN 2 @ Nanosats Database". Nanosats Database. Retrieved 2021-12-04.
  4. ^ a b c d e "CXBN-2 | Satellite Directory | eoPortal". Retrieved 2021-12-04.
  5. ^ a b "Morehead State University :: Space Missions - CXBN-2". Morehead State University. Archived from the original on 2017-04-04. Retrieved 2021-12-04.
  6. ^ "CXBN-2 CubeSat to embark on an important X-ray astronomy mission". Retrieved 2021-12-04.
  7. ^ "Launch Log (2017-2018) – Spaceflight Now". Retrieved 2021-12-05.
  8. ^ "S.S. John Glenn OA-7 Cygnus berthed to ISS". SpaceFlight Insider. 2017-04-22. Retrieved 2021-12-05.
  9. ^ "CubeSat Deployer Mission 11 Status Update: Good Deploy!". Nanoracks. 2017-05-17. Retrieved 2021-12-05.