Tiny Satellite Will Take Widest Ever Images of Earth’s and the Sun’s Magnetic Fields Colliding

Images captured by the probe, developed by BU engineers, could reveal new insights into radiation that impacts satellites, astronauts

By Kat J. McAlpine

A first-of-its-kind satellite, designed and built by Boston University engineers, on Monday morning hitched a ride aboard a NASA rocket launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Over the next five to six years in orbit, about 340 miles above our planet’s surface, the shoebox-size satellite containing an X-ray telescope will capture images of where the magnetic fields of the Earth and the sun meet in space.

Known as CuPID, which stands for Cusp Plasma Imaging Detector, the satellite is designed to capture images that will help scientists learn more about the way energy from the sun is transferred into the near-Earth space environment. The team behind the satellite’s development has been led by Brian Walsh (ME, ECE), and supported by a $2.4 million, four-year NASA grant. In addition to BU engineers, the team is made up of collaborators from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Johns Hopkins University, Drexel University, and Merrimack College.

For the full story on The Brink, visit https://www.bu.edu/articles/2021/cupid-satellite/