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RainCube [JPL]

RainCube (Radar In a CubeSat) is a technology validation mission by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to demonstrate the operation and performance of a miniaturized Ka-band Atmospheric Radar for CubeSats (miniKaAR-C) in the space environment on a low-cost, quick-turnaround platform.

RainCube would develop, launch, and operate a 35.75 GHz radar payload on a 6U CubeSat. This mission will validate a new architecture for Ka-band radars and an ultra-compact deployable Ka-band antenna in a space environment. RainCube would also demonstrate the feasibility of a radar payload on a CubeSat platform. This new instrument will enable constellation missions and potentially transform climate science and weather forecasting.

It was selected in 2016 by NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) program by the CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) to be launched as part of the ELaNa program. It was launched on on the ELaNa-23 mission on board of Cygnus CRS-9 to the ISS, where it was deployed on 13 July 2018 via the JEM airlock.

The satellite reentered on 23 December 2020.

A radar instrument based on RainCube will be flown on the three satellites of the INCUS mission.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Technology
Operator: Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
Contractors: Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL); Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Inc. (bus)
Equipment: Ka-band radar
Configuration: CubeSat (6U)
Propulsion: None
Power: 2 deployable fixed solar arrays, batteries
Mass: 12 kg
Orbit: 399 km × 407 km, 51.64
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
RainCube 1998-067NW 21.05.2018 WI LC-0A Antares-230 with Cygnus CRS-9, CubeRRT, HaloSat, Radix, TEMPEST-D, Lemur-2 78, ..., 81, AeroCube 12A, AeroCube 12B, RadSat-g, EQUiSat, MemSat, EnduroSat One

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