Picasso CubeSat to investigate upper layers of the atmostphere

January 29, 2015, European Space Agency
Credit: BISA

The PICosatellite for Atmospheric and Space Science Observations (Picasso) CubeSat, designed to investigate the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere.

Developed for ESA by the Belgian Institute of Space Aeronomy with VTT Finland and the UK's Clyde Space, Picasso will measure the distribution of ozone in the stratosphere and profile the temperature of the mesosphere and the in the ionosphere.

Just 30x10x10 cm in size, the CubeSat will use a miniaturised multispectral imager for atmospheric 'limb sounding' with the Sun as the , and a multineedle 'Langmuir probe' sampling the electron density of the space around it.

CubeSats are standardised pico- and nanosatellites formed in cubes of 10 cm per side, with a maximum mass of 1.5 kg per cube, intended to make access to space affordable for small companies, research institutes and universities. One-, two- or three-cube CubeSats are currently being flown.

Picasso is one of a number of CubeSat missions being backed by the In-Orbit Demonstration element of ESA's General Support Technology Programme. It will be launched in 2016 as part of QB50, a network of 50 CubeSats to probe largely unexplored layers of Earth's atmosphere.

Explore further: Almost anyone can hitchhike into space with a nanosatellite

Related Stories

Almost anyone can hitchhike into space with a nanosatellite

July 9, 2014

Earlier this year, the Russian Federal Space Agency received a hand-luggage-sized delivery from the UK. It came with a request to launch the contents aboard a rocket, along with the Russian three-tonne meteorological satellite. ...

The future of CubeSats

August 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —To investigate climate change, scientists and engineers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center are developing the IceCube satellite, which will be no larger than a loaf of bread. In 2016, this satellite will ...

Space debris expert warns of increasing CubeSat collision risk

September 30, 2014

The increasing number of small 'CubeSat' satellites being launched combined with a relaxed attitude to debris mitigation could lead to hazards for all space users unless preventative measures are taken, warns a leading space ...

Recommended for you

Total lunar eclipse woos sky watchers

January 21, 2019

An unusual set of celestial circumstances came together over Sunday night and the wee hours of Monday for sky watchers in Europe, Africa and the Americas, where the moon was fully obscured before lighting up again with a ...

Making stars when the universe was half its age

January 18, 2019

The universe is about 13.8 billion years old, and its stars are arguably its most momentous handiwork. Astronomers studying the intricacies of star formation across cosmic time are trying to understand whether stars and the ...

Saturn hasn't always had rings

January 17, 2019

One of the last acts of NASA's Cassini spacecraft before its death plunge into Saturn's hydrogen and helium atmosphere was to coast between the planet and its rings and let them tug it around, essentially acting as a gravity ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

cantdrive85
1 / 5 (1) Jan 30, 2015
a network of 50 CubeSats to probe largely unexplored layers of Earth's atmosphere.


Unexplored layers of the atmosphere?

Sadly, it doesn't matter to the climate "scientists" that there are many aspects of the Earth's atmosphere that are unknown when they make their claims about the science of AGW as being "settled". It just goes to show that they rely on beliefs in their claims, not science.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.