Periodically throughout the construction, testing, and operation of the Cupid spacecraft, the team will be posting updates here on the progress of the project.

CuPID’s first time outside

By Rousseau Nutter
June 2nd, 2020

The past few weeks have been full of X-ray calibration testing. But this week we shifted to a test of CuPID’s ability to track GPS satellites. If successful, the ability to track GPS satellites will allow us to triangulate CuPID’s position at any given time. To best do this test we had to be outside with clear lines of sight. As this was CuPIDs first time outside and we are still in the midst of... More

The testing must go on!

By Emil Atz
April 26th, 2020

Individually, CuPID's structure and electrical components have been tested, but now integrated, we are requiring CuPID to go through many more tests to fully confident that CuPID will work as designed once in orbit. From just confirming functionality of all sub-systems to calibrating the instruments, CuPID has been spending a lot of time running. Earlier this year, CuPID was at GSFC undergoing some X-ray calibration tests. A 2.5 meter long beam line was set up to... More


By Emil Atz
February 17th, 2020

In the recent weeks, the CuPID chassis and avionics met for integration. This process involved mounting the avionics into the chassis and then wiring all the components together through the spacecraft. After many hours of work with screwdrivers, wire crimpers and lacing cord, we powered the spacecraft on. With much anticipation, everything checked out! Sun sensors, thermistors, and instruments (no high voltage yet, but soon) all powered on and operated nominally! CuPID was transported from the... More

Glasses for CuPID?

By Emil Atz
October 15th, 2019

Optics in a telescope are just like glasses to improve someone's sight. In the case of visible light, the glass lens refracts the light to the desired pattern. With x-rays, the optics can only deflect the incoming  light because the x-rays would pass right though! These optics, called slumped micro-pore optics, and are an array of lead-glass channels that are slumped over a spherical surface creating a grid of square channels that point radially outward... More

The instruments meet each other!

By Emil Atz
August 30th, 2019

This week, Brian, Jef and I delivered the CuPID micro-dosimeter to Nick , Norm and Michael at Goddard Space Flight Center where the CuPID chassis and X-ray instrument currently reside. Until now, the instruments have been built and tested separately. After some individual testing that morning to document functionality, the instruments were integrated into the chassis and mounted inside a vacuum chamber. After being seated in the vacuum chamber, the instruments were powered on and data... More

CuPID at the GEM Conference!

By Emil Atz
July 11th, 2019

Recently, at the end of June, the CuPID team from BU presented at the Geospace Environment Modeling (GEM) conference in Santa Fe, NM. Our Principal Investigator Brian Walsh presented the mission to a conference session focusing on magnetic reconnection. PhD student Emil Atz presented the CuPID instruments during an evening poster session and won the poster competition for the research area! Overall, the conference was a great success with plenty of science, learning, collaboration and fun!... More

It is a Flight-Unit CubeSat!

By Emil Atz
February 2nd, 2019

This week, the CuPID team finalized the chassis structure, and began to test how components would integrate onto and into the chassis. At Boston University, we tested the solar panels on the chassis, both in fitment and performance. Below, Thompson Cragwell, an engineer in our research group proudly holds our flight CuPID chassis and largest flight solar panel. In Maryland, at Planetary Systems Corporation, CuPID was inserted into their Canisterized Satellite Dispenser (CSD), which will be... More

More Power!

By Emil Atz
December 11th, 2018

In the last two months, we have built and began testing the flight model solar panels for CuPID. If you remember, we posted about building the small, -X face solar panel in May, yet this panel was only able to fit 7 solar cells. Using the lessons learned from manufacturing the -X panel, we made the two main power producing panels for CuPID. Together, these two panels are enough to power the satellite with their... More

Ready for First Contact!

By Emil Atz
October 22nd, 2018

September 27th and 28th: Kevin Jackson and Steven Erickson of Flexitech Aerospace came to Boston to perform the installation of a custom ground station. The ground station will communicate with CuPID once in orbit. The ground station consists of two major components, the main computer terminal and the radio antenna. There were quite a few components so it took the combined effort of the whole team to properly set it up! The radio antenna tracks a... More

Successful vibe test

By Brian Michael Walsh
May 26th, 2018

CuPID goes through a successful vibe test! The violent shaking of a rocket during launch can cause a number of issues with a spacecraft including parts rattling loose, electronics being damaged, and optics being offset in an imaging system. To test the spacecraft and instruments prior to full integration, CuPID went through a risk reduction vibrational test in early May.  The test shook the spacecraft at similar frequencies and intensities as expected from the rocket. All... More