NUSAT: 1985

NUSAT, a tiny satellite designed by Weber State College in northern Utah, was deployed into Earth orbit from the cargo bay of the Space Shuttle Challenger on April 29, 1985. Its purpose was to serve as a radar target for the FAA.

The satellite employed three L-band receivers, an ultra high frequency (UHF) command receiver, a VHF telemetry transmitter, associated antennas, a microprocessor, fixed solar arrays, and a power supply to acquire, store, and forward signal strength data from radar. All of that was packed inside a basketball-sized, 26-sided polyhedron that weighed about 115 pounds.[219]

NUSAT was used to optimize ground-based ATC radar systems for the United States and member nations of the International Civil Aviation Organization by measuring antenna patterns.[220]

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