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PICASSO (PICosatellite for Atmospheric and Space Science Observations) is a Belgian 3U CubeSat, designed to investigate the upper layers of Earth’s atmosphere.

PICASSO is developed for the QB50 project for ESA by the Belgian Institute of Space Aeronomy (BISA) 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 electron density in the ionosphere.

PICASSO features a miniaturized multispectral imager for atmospheric limb sounding with the Sun as the light source, and a multineedle Langmuir probe (mNLP) sampling the electron density of the space around it. PICASSO is built to the 3U-CubeSat standard.

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 was to be launched in 2016 as part of QB50, a network of 50 CubeSats to probe largely unexplored layers of Earth’s atmosphere. It has bee dropped out of the QB50 framework and is planned now for a 2019 launch.

Nation: Belgium
Type / Application: Technology, thermospheric research
Operator: Belgian Institute of Space Aeronomy (BISA)
Contractors: Belgian Institute of Space Aeronomy (BISA)
Equipment: Miniaturized multispectral imager for atmospheric limb sounding, mNLP
Configuration: CubeSat (3U)
Propulsion: None
Power: 4 deployable fixed solar arrays, solar cells, batteries
Mass: 4 kg
Orbit: 534 km × 536 km, 97.52°
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
PICASSO 2020-061K 03.09.2020 Ko ELV Vega with Athena, ION-SCV 1, ESAIL, UPMSat 2, NEMO-HD, ŃuSat 6, GHGSat C1, Flock-4v 1, ..., 26, Lemur-2 112, ..., 119, SpaceBEE 10, ..., 21, FSSCat A, B, NAPA 1, TARS, EG 2, OSM 1 CICERO, DIDO 3, SIMBA, TRISAT, AMICal-Sat, TTÜ100


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