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CHIPSat (Artist's impression, courtesy NASA)
Organization NASA
Space Sciences Laboratory, Berkeley
Contractor SpaceDev, Inc.
Mission Type Astronomy
Satellite of Earth
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)
Orbital elements
Semi-major axis 6,955.88 kilometres (4,322.18 mi)
Eccentricity 0.0013
Inclination 94.01 degrees
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)[2]

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.[1]

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.

In September 2005 the spacecraft was converted to a solar observatory.[2] From April 3, 2006 to April 5, 2008 CHIPsat performed 1458 observations of the Sun.[3]

Satellite operations were terminated in April 2008.

See also


  1. ^ Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer
  2. ^
  3. ^ CHIPS Solar Science Archive

External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

  • "Good-bye Mr. CHIPS", Chris Thompson, East Bay Express, 2 July 2008.
  • "CHIPS, the Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer".  
  • "Two Years of EUV Observations with the Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer".  
  • "SpaceDev Small Satellites".  
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