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

Ready for first pass

By Emil Atz
September 25th, 2021

The CuPID team has gotten the ground station computers and accompanying software prepared for launch on Monday the 27th! After spending two days fighting with motors on the antenna, the ground station is fully functional and ready for PI Brian Walsh to establish contact as soon as we get orbit information! Go CuPID!

Integration at Vandenberg Space Force Base!

By Emil Atz
August 12th, 2021

Last week, CuPID was integrated into the flight deployer and ESPA ring at Vandenberg Space Force Base in Lompoc CA. The team hand carried CuPID over commercial airline to LA, and then via rental car to Lompoc. Integration went smoothly, there were no problems with cleanliness checks, travel, or the integration activity. CuPID now waits, inhibited, inside its deployer as the assembly is mated to Landsat-9 and mounted onto the rocket for launch!     Unfortunately, photos from... More

CuPID Survives Vibe… Again!

By Emil Atz
July 9th, 2021

Last week, requirements for the Cubesats riding on this launch changed unexpectedly. We were required to re-test the satellites to higher vibration levels to guarantee that our satellites will behave during launch, and will do no harm to the launch vehicle. On Friday July 2nd, with incredible assistance from our co-workers at NASA, we performed a vibration test at Wallops Flight Facility. CuPID did phenomenally, and really proved itself on the vibe table that day! Check out... More

CuPID Survives Vibration Testing!

By Emil Atz
April 6th, 2021

Last week, CuPID underwent vibration testing as part of its environmental test requirements from the launch provider. CuPID survived the extreme vibrations we gave it, and showed nominal operation after the test. Accelerometers are mounted to the vibration plate to define the driving forces, as well as specific location on CuPID to characterize CuPID's response. CuPID was tested three times in each axis, a total of 9 vibration tests. The tests include a sine sweep, random... More

Star tracking in the winter in Boston

By Rousseau Nutter
January 13th, 2021

Like many spacecraft, CuPID uses a star tracker to identify its pointing or attitude.  The star tracker uses a catalog of stars and compares with observations of measured star patterns to identify pointing at a given moment in time. After a brief failed attempt at viewing through the light pollution from the top of the Photonics building on campus in the middle of Boston, we sought a new venue outside the city. The next stop was... More

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