CubeSat for Solar Particles
Artemis I OSA Secondary Payloads - CuSP and LunaHMap (KSC-20210714-PH-KLS01 0071).jpg
The CuSP Team delivers the Cubesat to NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Shown are (left to right) Mike Epperly, Project Manager, Don George, Mission Engineer, and Chad Loeffler, Flight Software Engineer.
Mission typeTechnology demonstration, reconnaissance, Space Weather
OperatorGoddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
Mission duration81 minutes 6 seconds
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type6U CubeSat
BusSwRI Custom Design
ManufacturerSouthwest Research Institute (SwRI)
Launch mass10.2 kg (22 lb)
Dimensions10 cm × 20 cm × 30 cm
Power45.46 watts
Start of mission
Launch date16 November 2022, 06:47:44 UTC[1]
RocketSLS Block 1
Launch siteKSC, LC-39B
End of mission
Last contact16 November 2022
Orbital parameters
Reference systemHeliocentric orbit
Flyby of Moon
Suprathermal Ion Spectrograph (SIS)
Miniaturized Electron and Proton Telescope (MERiT)
Vector Helium Magnetometer (VHM)

CubeSat for Solar Particles (CuSP) is a low-cost 6U CubeSat to orbit the Sun to study the dynamic particles and magnetic fields.[2][3] The principal investigator for CuSP is Mihir Desai, at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas.[2] It was launched on the maiden flight of the Space Launch System (SLS), as a secondary payload of the Artemis 1 mission on 16 November 2022.[1][4]

Following deployment from the Artemis launch adaptor, contact with the spacecraft showed that it successfully stabilized and deployed its solar arrays, but after the initial 57 minute 27 second radio contact, no further contact was established, however the search is still on. Blind commanding will be performed to stabilize the spacecraft should it still be functioning.[5]


Measuring space weather 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, is of importance. 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. Thus, CuSP also was intended as a test for creating a network of space science stations.[2]

The CuSP Team

CuSP Spacecraft Team:[6]

Dr. Mihir Desai: Principal Investigator

Mike Epperly: Project Manager

Dr. Don George: Mission System Engineer

Chad Loeffler: Flight Software

Raymond Doty: Spacecraft Technician

Dr. Frederic Allegrini: SIS Instrument PI

Dr. Neil Murphy: VHM Instrument PI

Dr. Shrikanth Kanekal, MERiT Instrument PI


This CubeSat carried three scientific instruments:[2][3]


The satellite features a cold gas thruster system for propulsion, attitude control (orientation) and orbital maneuvering.[7]

Flight results

After a successful launch of the SLS at 12:47 am ET, The Orion/ICPS performed a Trans-Lunar Injection and separated. Shortly thereafter, CuSP was deployed from its launch canister. About 30 minutes after deployment, DSN received Open Loop Receiver (OLR) telemetry from CuSP indicating it had booted up, detumbled, deployed solar arrays, and assumed a SAFE, Sun-pointing, orientation. Multiple later attempts to receive signals from the spacecraft failed, and no further contact has been made. The CuSP team is investigating the cause of the sudden battery temperature increase and working to find a solution and to regain contact with the spacecraft. Additional contact attempts are planned during the remainder of 2022.[5]


See also

The 10 CubeSats flying in the Artemis 1 mission


  1. ^ a b Roulette, Joey; Gorman, Steve (16 November 2022). "NASA's next-generation Artemis mission heads to moon on debut test flight". Reuters. Retrieved 16 November 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Heliophysics CubeSat to Launch on NASAs SLS". NASA. 2 February 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2021. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ a b Messier, Doug (5 February 2016). "SwRI CubeSat to Explore Deep Space". Parabolic ARC. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  4. ^ Harbaugh, Jennifer (23 July 2021). "Artemis I CubeSats will study the Moon, solar radiation". NASA. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  5. ^ a b Hill, Denise (December 8, 2022). "Artemis I Payload CuSP CubeSat Has Apparently Failed," NASA Press release (alternate link: SpaceRef). Retrieved 8 Dec. 2022.
  6. ^ George, Don (21 April 2016). "The CuSP interplanetary CubeSat mission" (PDF). California Polytechnic State University.
  7. ^ "CuSP Propulsion System". VACCO Industries. 11 August 2017. Retrieved 20 August 2022.