Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer Microsatellite Still Going Strong

SpaceDev announced the second anniversary of the Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer (CHIPS) microsatellite on January 12, 2005. Designed and built by SpaceDev for the University of California, Berkeley under a NASA-funded contract and launched in 2003, CHIPSat has been operating successfully in low earth orbit for over two years.

CHIPSat, a high-performance inexpensive microsatellite, was the first U.S. mission ever to use end-to-end satellite operations over the Internet with TCP/IP and FTP. This concept was analyzed and demonstrated by the NASA OMNI team via UoSat-12; however, SpaceDev was the first to implement the concept as the only means of satellite communication. SpaceDev designed CHIPSat for a one-year science mission and an eighteen-month satellite life, both now significantly exceeded. CHIPSat was also unusual in that many of the key systems used in CHIPSat had never flown in space before, reinforcing SpaceDev’s corporate culture that careful and practical innovation can significantly change the traditional way things have been done.

SpaceDev’s new and upcoming high precision microsats for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) expand on and improve proprietary SpaceDev-developed CHIPSat technology that permits SpaceDev satellites to be controlled from anywhere in the world from a laptop computer. For the new low earth orbit MDA satellites, SpaceDev will increase pointing and tracking precision, increase the processing power of its flight computer to achieve more difficult real-time problem solving on-orbit, add autonomous satellite commissioning, and will introduce other innovative techniques and technologies.

SpaceDev is also developing a proposal for highly capable nanosats weighing about 25 pounds for another government customer.

“The SpaceDev engineering team continues its transformational thinking by successfully developing and delivering fast turnaround, high performance, and responsive space systems at affordable prices,” said founding chair and CEO Jim Benson.

About SpaceDev

SpaceDev creates and sells affordable and innovative space products and solutions to government and commercial enterprises. SpaceDev’s innovations include the design, manufacture, marketing and operation of sophisticated micro- and nano- satellites, hybrid rocket-based orbital Maneuvering and orbital Transfer Vehicles as well as sub-orbital and orbital hybrid rocket-based propulsion systems for safe human space flight. Upon founding SpaceDev in 1997, Jim Benson started the trend of successful computer entrepreneurs moving into the space development arena. With the long-term vision of building private sector exploration and profitable economic development of space, he has brought to this challenge the fast-moving entrepreneurial development style, which characterized the microcomputer revolution. For more information, visit

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