The BurstCube mission is a small (6U) Cubesat to detect gamma-ray burst events, providing rapid alerts and initial detection localization. It operates from low earth orbit after being deployed from the International Space Station. BurstCube has been developed at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Astrophysics Science Division.

The main objective of BurstCube is to rapidly detect and characterize short gamma-ray burst events (sGRBs), with a particular emphasis on counterparts of gravitational wave (GW) sources, The joint detection of neutron star–neutron star mergers and GW events will provide insights into

  • fundamental physics and cosmology
  • jet physics
  • GRB emission mechanisms
  • neutron star equations of state
  • black hole formation

BurstCube continuously monitors the variable gamma-ray sky, complimenting existing facilities to provide greater coverage for rare and unusual transients while contributing to multi-messenger astronomy. In addition to BurstCube’s primary science goals, it provides an additional window into other gamma-ray sources, including long GRBs, soft gamma repeaters, and high-energy transient sources with broad gamma-ray spectral and temporal evolution details for transient events. It provides autonomous detection, localization, and rapid disemenation of new events to the world-wide astrophysics community through the Gamma-ray Coordinates Network (GCN).

The BurstCube archive is hosted at the HEASARC. In addition to traditional data products, BurstCube generates rapid response data known as QuickLook data to provide initial snapshots of high-energy events: these data are also available through the HEASARC and routinely and frequently updated.

Latest News

March 2024

BurstCube Launch NASA’s SpaceX 30th commercial resupply mission lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida on Thursday, March 21 at 4:55 p.m. EDT. The Dragon spacecraft, carrying BurstCube and other scientific payloads as well as supplies, had docked to the International Space Station early morning on Saturday, March 23. BurstCube is expected to deploy in space from the ISS in early May.