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Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics

Instrument Design Overview

The CUTE instrument design is presented below. More details regarding the design can be found in Egan, A. et al. 2018.

Fig. 1. The CUTE science instrument.

Fig. 1 shows the CUTE science instrument. The CUTE primary mirror acts as its own optical bench, supporting the secondary mirror in front of it and the spectrograph housing behind it. Two flexures mount the telescope to the bottom of the CUTE CubeSat bus. A heat strap comes off the back of the CCD detector and is attached to a radiator on the side of the CubeSat bus.

Fig. 2. Internal close-up rendering of the CUTE spectrograph enclosure. A cover closes the enclosure and acts as the CCD mount.

Fig. 2 displays the inside of the spectrograph. A shutter is used to block light from the CCD. The cylindrical fold mirror sits on a tip/tilt stage that will be used to align the spectrograph. The CCD is mounted on the outside of a panel that closes the spectrograph enclosure. A lamina emergent mount (LEM) will help absorb any thermal expansion and contraction that occurs on the CCD mount, and a heat strap is mounted to the LEM and attached to the side of the CubeSat bus.

Fig 3. Solid render of the closed spectrograph enclosure with the
CCD and a lamina emergent mechanism (LEM) heat strap
mount. The flexure on the left has a vertical cylinder nested
inside the horizontal cylinder that is bonded into the telescope.

Fig. 3 displays the back of the telescope + spectrograph enclosure. The width of the telescope is only 20 cm. The flexures are used to mount the science instrument to the bottom of the CubeSat.

Fig. 4 Final CUTE design rendering, with top and sides not shown.

Fig. 4 displays the final CUTE design. The top and sides of CUTE are not displayed to illustrate the orientation and fit of the science instrument. The BCT CubeSat bus will be delivered including the sun sensors, GPS patch, S-band transmitter, an ultra high frequency (UFH) antenna (not shown), and star tracker and attitude control and determination system (ADCS).

CUTE is scheduled to launch in late-September 2021 as a rideshare with the NASA/GSFC Landsat 9 mission.