WASHINGTON-Today the Hyper-Angular Rainbow Polarimeter (HARP) CubeSat made history by becoming the 100th CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) selected mission deployed into space. This mission marks nearly 12 years of the CSLI providing CubeSat developers rideshare opportunities to space via Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) missions.

“This 100th mission is extremely noteworthy because it highlights just how special and valuable CSLI is. Not only does the initiative provide real-life, hands-on experience to the next generation of space exploration professionals, it also adds tremendous value and moves NASA’s mission forward in meaningful ways,” said Jim Norman, director, Launch Services at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “I want to thank all the university students, faculty and staff, industry partners and NASA centers who have participated in this program for their contributions.” HARP is a 3U CubeSat designed to measure the microphysical properties of atmospheric aerosols, cloud water and ice particles.

It is a precursor for a new generation of imaging polarimeters to be used for the detailed measurements of aerosol and cloud properties in larger missions.

The wide field-of-view imager splits three spatially identical images into three independent polarizer and detector arrays.

This technique achieves simultaneous imagery of the three polarization states and is the key innovation to achieve a high polarimetric accuracy with no moving parts.

The mission is expected to spend nearly a year in orbit with three months dedicated to technology demonstrations and an extended science data period of an additional seven months.

Funded by NASA’s Earth Science Technology Office, HARP launched Nov. 2, 2019, as part of the ELaNa 25 mission on Northrup Grumman’s 12th Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station.