CHIPSat (Artist's impression, courtesy NASA)
Space Sciences Laboratory, Berkeley
|Launch||January 12, 2003 on Delta II 7320-10|
|Launch site||Vandenberg AFB SLC-2W, California|
|Termination||April 11, 2008|
|Nominal mission duration||1 year|
|Mass||64 kg (total), 40 kg (bus)|
|Semi-major axis||6,955.88 kilometres (4,322.18 mi)|
|Orbital Period||96.23 minutes|
|Right ascension of the ascending node||11.86 degrees|
|Argument of perigee||19.70 degrees|
|Spectrometer||A nebular spectrograph (9 to 26 nm)|
CHIPSat (Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer satellite) is a now-decommissioned, but still-orbiting, microsatellite. It was launched on January 12, 2003 from Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard a Delta II with the larger ICESat, and had an intended mission duration of one year. CHIPSat was the first of NASA's University-Class Explorers (UNEX) mission class. It performed spectroscopy from 90 to 250 angstroms (9 to 26 nm), extreme ultraviolet light.
The primary objective of the science team, led by Principal Investigator Mark Hurwitz, was to study the million-degree gas in the local interstellar medium. CHIPSat was designed to capture the first spectra of the faint, extreme ultraviolet glow that is expected to be emitted by the hot interstellar gas within about 300 light-years of the Sun, a region often referred to as the Local Bubble. Surprisingly, these measurements produced a null result, with only very faint EUV emissions detected, despite theoretical expectations of much stronger emissions.
It was the first U.S. mission to use TCP/IP for end-to-end satellite operations control.
The University of California, Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory served as CHIPSat's primary groundstation and manufactured the CHIPS spectrograph, designed to perform all-sky spectroscopy. Other ground network support was provided by groundstations at Wallops Island, Virginia and Adelaide, Australia. CHIPSat's spacecraft platform was manufactured by SpaceDev.
Satellite operations were terminated in April 2008.
Media related to CHIPSat at Wikimedia Commons