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Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer SATellite


Designation 27643 / 03002B
Launch date 13 Jan 2003
Country of origin United States
Mission Scientific: UV astronomy
Perigee/Apogee 590 km
Inclination 94°
Launch vehicle Delta #294

Worth $12 million of NASA funding, managed by the University of California Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory. Spacedev as the bus provider, integrator and operator for the first year will charge approx $5 million.

The CHIPS instrument is designed to diagnose the physical properties of the plasma in the local bubble. It will carry out for the first time all-sky, high-resolution spectroscopy of the plasma's diffuse glow using sensitive detectors tailored to observe in a poorly explored ultraviolet wavelength band. Communication with the satellite will be via TCP/IP + FTP.

Started serving on 2 Feb 2003.

At end of life, it is learned that the satellite never detected Extreme UV radiation from the hot interstellar gas. After about 3 years of operation, it was redirected to look at Extreme UV emissions from the Sun. It was NASA's first mission to communicate via IP (Internet protocol), and it was used by NASA's Exploration Initiative to test scheduling systems software in orbit.

End of life

Out of service May 2008
Cause Shutdown for budgetary reasons
Decay planned in 2013

External resources

sat-index articles



Technical data


Prime contractor Spacedev
Platform BD-2
Mass at launch 59 kg
Mass in orbit  
Solar array  
Stabilization 3_axis
DC power  
Design lifetime 1 year

The platform features a miniature, high-performance, 300 MIPS flight computer using a Motorola microprocessor; a miniature, variable power STDN-compatible S-band Transceiver/Transponder; a miniature, modular power conditioning and distribution subsystem; the SpaceDev MicroSat-Operating System; the Internet-based SpaceDev Mission Control and Operations Package.

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