The 6U CuPID cubesat is a small volume (10cm x 20 cm x 30 cm), small mass (8kg) spacecraft comprised of a number of subcomponents working together to address the goals of the mission. The autonomous vehicle contains all the necessary components to generate and store power, point in the appropriate directions, communicate with the ground, and collect scientific measurements. A model of the spacecraft is presented below.
The avionics components build on successful heritage from the Firefly (Sienna College/NASA Goddard) and Kestral Eye (US Army/Adcole Maryland Aerospace) small satellites. In flight, the spacecraft is controlled with a single microcontroller monitoring and commanding the many subcomponets. The pointing or attitude of the spacecraft is controlled by a star tracker and a combination of reaction wheels and magnetorquors (Attitude determination and control system – ADCS). Communication with the ground (COMS) is conducted over a radio system with a ground station at Boston University at 400.5MHz.