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M-Cubed is a miniaturized satellite built by students at the University of Michigan in joint project run by MXL and JPL . It is an example of the popular CubeSat design for amateur satellites. It was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in October 2011 atop a Delta II rocket. This was a multi-payload mission with five other CubeSats, AubieSat-1, DICE-1, DICE-2, Explorer-1 Prime, and RAX-2. The name 'M-Cubed' is a shortening of Michigan Multipurpose Minisat. M-Cubed uses a passive Attitude control system consisting of a large permanent magnet that aligns the satellite with the Earth's magnetic field. On-board control is provided by a Taskit Stamp9G20 microcontroller running Real time Linux. The Michigan Exploration Laboratory (MXL) suspects that the M-Cubed CubeSat, became magnetically conjoined to Explorer-1 Prime, a second CubeSat released at the same time, via strong onboard magnets used for passive attitude control (see: Magnetorquer), after deploying on October 28th, 2011. This is the first non-destructive latching of two satellites. M-Cubed's primary mission is as a technology demonstrator platform for high resolution imaging technology intended for use in a future NASA mission.

Alternate Names

  • 39469
  • MCubed2

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2013-12-06
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V
Launch Site: Vandenberg AFB, United States
Mass: 1 kg


  • Technology Applications

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

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