A photo of the COSPIN instrument
Click on image for full size
European Space Agency
COSPIN Instrument Page
COSPIN is one of the instruments on the Ulysses spacecraft.
COSPIN stands for the COsmic and Solar Particle INvestigation. The COSPIN instrument is actually made up of 5 different sensors: the Dual Anisotropy Telescopes (ATs), the Low Energy Telescope (LET), the High Energy Telescope (HET), the High Flux Telescope (HFT), and the Kiel Electron Telescope (KET). Pictures of some of these sensors appear here.
COSPIN is another of the instruments onboard Ulysses that is helping us make a map of the heliosphere. The Earth is of course inside the heliosphere, or the region of space influenced by the solar wind. Because the solar wind affects life on Earth, it is important that we understand the heliosphere and all of the particles within this region. COSPIN does just that. It collects data about the solar wind and about galactic cosmic rays within the heliosphere.
Spacecraft like Pioneer 10 and 11 and Voyager 1 and 2 started making a map of the heliosphere. They've mapped to the outer planets and beyond! But, Ulysses has a special orbit that allows it to map areas no other spacecraft has ever been to.
The Ulysses probe was launched in 1990. It is still alive and well. The builders of COSPIN knew that Ulysses would be in space a long time and so they took special care to assure that COSPIN would be able to survive a long time in space. They also followed the ground rule of many spacecraft designers in that no single failure of any one sensor should result in the failure of another sensor. This assures us that useful data will be coming from COSPIN for a long time to come.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, as well as books
on science education!
You might also be interested in:
The rare arrangement of planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune in the 1980's made it possible for the Voyager spacecrafts to visit them over a 12 year span instead of the normal 30. They used gravity...more
The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was one of the most important exploration tools of the past two decades, and will continue to serve as a great resource well into the new millennium. The HST found numerous...more
Driven by a recent surge in space research, the Apollo program hoped to add to the accomplishments of the Lunar Orbiter and Surveyor missions of the late 1960's. Apollo 11 was the name of the first mission...more
Apollo 12 was launched on Nov. 14, 1969, surviving a lightning strike which temporarily shut down many systems, and arrived at the Moon three days later. Astronauts Charles Conrad and Alan Bean descended...more
Apollo 15 marked the start of a new series of missions from the Apollo space program, each capable of exploring more lunar terrain than ever before. Launched on July 26, 1971, Apollo 15 reached the Moon...more
NASA chose Deep Impact to be part of a special series called the Discovery Program on July 7, 1999. The Discovery program specializes in low-cost, scientific projects. In May 2001, Deep Impact was given...more
The Galileo spacecraft was launched on October 19, 1989. Galileo had two parts: an orbiter and a descent probe that parachuted into Jupiter's atmosphere. Galileo's main mission was to explore Jupiter and...more