Given the role of Cubesats in the new space economy, a statistically relevant number of CubeSats have flown, and considering the high percentage of failed missions, the investigation of in-orbit anomalies becomes of paramount importance. It is rare to find data about mission failures, probably because the partial or total absence of telemetry does not encourage any analysis. The lack of data from the spacecraft in orbit can be mitigated through ad-hoc verification campaigns on satellite models when in-orbit anomalies are experienced. This paper shows an effective testing activity conducted on models of the spacecraft to understand the root cause of a severe anomaly that occurred during mission operations. The tests are part of a comprehensive methodology for root causes analysis. The paper aims at sharing the experience built upon a practical case of interest. More importantly, this work has the ambition of fostering the research on key topics of reliability, mission operations and assembly, and integration and verification/test processes, which have shown to be critical. The activity presented in this paper demonstrates that investigating the anomalies can help recover the mission of interest but can also support building a heritage that is still missing for CubeSat missions today.
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