The CuPID (Cusp Plasma Imaging Detector) Cubesat Observatory is designed to test competing models of solar wind-magnetosphere coupling. The 6U spacecraft is roughly the size of a toaster oven and will carry a wide field-of-view soft X-ray telescope, the first of its kind to be placed into orbit. In orbit the spacecraft will measure soft X-rays emitted from the process of charge-exchange when plasma from the solar wind collides with neutral atoms in the Earth’s distant atmosphere. The spatial and temporal patterns of X-ray images will be used to address scientific questions. The project is a collaboration between Boston University, Drexel University, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Johns Hopkins University, Merrimack College, Aerospace Corporation, and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. The mission is supported by NASA and is scheduled to launch in 2021.
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