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 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

Power Up! Solar Panel Build

By Emil Atz
May 15th, 2018

A few weeks ago, Aleks Zosuls and I populated cells on a printed circuit board (PCB) for one of CuPID’s solar panels. It was decided to affix the solar cells to CuPID’s solar panel PCBs using double sided Kapton tape. Kapton is a thermal and electrical insulator, and with adhesive on both sides, it makes for a very robust method to affix two flat components together. The tricky part about this assembly is that the string... More

Why Space Parts are Different than Earth Parts

By Emil Atz
January 15th, 2018

It is pretty common in the satellite field to hear, “that costs how much!?” Generally speaking, space grade parts cost more because of the effort required to minimize the risk of failure. On Earth, an inexpensive part could fail, but could be replaced (with some frustration of course). On orbit, the failure of an inexpensive part could terminate the mission of a spacecraft. The environment outside of Earth’s atmosphere is not as friendly as it is... More

First Things First: A Design Review Meeting

By Emil Atz
September 8th, 2017

What is a CDR? In many areas of work, before a large project progresses far from concept into design, fabrication, and testing, an important meeting must be scheduled. In this meeting, team members present progress and future work to colleagues as well as a set of second party reviewers. This type of meeting is called a Critical Design Review, or CDR for short. Commonplace for development of spaceflight hardware, CDR’s are important to a project because... More


By Brian Michael Walsh
July 16th, 2017

As the very first post, we’ll look at cube-satellites or cubesats before getting into specifics about the Cupid mission. Very simply, a cubesat is a small spacecraft that fits into several standard sizes. Below shows several different options and a loaf of bread for scale of size. Each “U” in the label above is 10cm x 10cm x 10cm cube. Cupid is a 6U spacecraft. These agreed upon standards for size and shape of the spacecraft has... More