Cubesats to study Earth’s magnetosphere and exoplanets launch with Landsat 9

Two cubesats designed to study the Earth’s magnetic field and to look for exoplanets around nearby stars rode to space on Monday (Sept. 27) with NASA’s new Landsat 9 Earth observation mission. 

The two little satellites called CuPID (for Cusp Plasma Imaging Detector) and CUTE (for Colorado Ultraviolet Transit Experiment), carpooled with the 3-ton Landsat 9 to space, taking advantage of excess room available atop an Atlas V rocket provided by United Launch Alliance. This arrangement makes it relatively cheap for the cubesats to access space, since Landsat 9 was already booked on the rocket and there was enough fuel to spare for extra passengers.

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