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NPSat1 [NPS]

NPSAT 1 (Naval Postgraduate School Satellite 1) is a low-cost satellite designed by the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) hosting a number of space flight experiments to investigate space weather and the flight demonstration of space technology.

Commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS)-based technology will be implemented with custom designs to offer a low-cost command and data handling (C&DH) subsystem building on commercial, desktop PC architecture and standards-based specifications.

In addition to an experimental C&DH subsystem, NPSAT1 will demonstrate the use of non-volatile ferroelectric RAM which is inherently radiation-tolerant and a lithium-ion battery, state-of-the-art technology that will be employed offering high energy density (Watt-hr/kg) for space applications.

Experiments on-board NPSAT1 include two Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) payloads: 

  • The coherent electromagnetic radio tomography (CERTO) experiment and
  • a Langmuir probe.

The CERTO experiment is a radio beacon which, in concert with ground station receivers, is used to measure total-electron-content (TEC) in the ionosphere. The Langmuir probe will augment CERTO data by providing on-orbit measurements.

The other experiments are of NPS origin.

  • a novel design for a configurable, fault-tolerant spacecraft computer board,
  • a COTS visible (wavelength) imager (VISIM),
  • Solar Cell Measurement System (SMS),
  • and some micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS)-based rate sensors.

NPSAT1 was to be launched in 2007 on the STP-1 mission with with ASTRO, NEXTSat/CSC, STPSat 1, CFESat, MidSTAR 1, FalconSat 3, but was delayed.

The SMS experiment was later also flown on a dedicated cubesat mission, NPS-SCAT.

Finally, NPSAT1 was manifested on the STP-2 mission in 2017 on a Falcon-Heavy rocket.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Technology
Operator: USAF STP (Space Test Program)
Contractors: Naval Postgraduate School (NPS)
Equipment: CERTO, Langmuir-Probe, VISIM imager
Power: Solar cells, batteries
Mass: 86 kg
Orbit: 560 km × 560 km, 35.4
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
NPSat1 - 2017 CC LC-39A Falcon-Heavy with DSX , FORMOSAT 7A, 7B, 7C, 7D, 7E, 7F, GPIM, OTB 1, FalconSat 6, Oculus-ASR, Prox 1, LightSail B, ARMADILLO, FalconSat 7, TBEx A, TBEx B, Prometheus 2.2, Prometheus 2.4, Prometheus 2.5, Prometheus 2.6, Prometheus 2.7, Prometheus 2.8, Prometheus 2.9, Prometheus 2.10, PSat 2, BRICSat 2, TEPCE 1, TEPCE 2, CP 9 (LEO), StangSat, DOTSI, CNGB, Ballast
Further STP missions: