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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 (Block 5) 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 2019-036 25.06.2019 CCK LC-39A Falcon-Heavy (Block 5) with DSX , FORMOSAT 7A, 7B, 7C, 7D, 7E, 7F, GPIM, OTB 1, Oculus-ASR, Prox 1, LightSail B, ARMADILLO, FalconSat 7, E-TBEx A, E-TBEx B, PSat 2, BRICSat 2, Prometheus-2 5?, TEPCE 1, 2, CP 9 (LEO), StangSat
Further STP missions: