NATSweb, A Unique Opportunity
NATSweb, or Naval Academy Tracking Satellite, Weber State, was a unique launch opportunity taking advantage of a unique frequency plan to accomplish a unique objective. It was the first of the Small Satellite projects built in the Naval Academy Satellite Lab. We heard about the launch opportunity the week before Christmas 1998 and in a fluury of activity, we had completed the design and construction and were within a week of delivery at the end of January, when the State Department stepped in and nix'ed the project because the Launcher's Export Licnese (completed a year before) did not include an active payload. But this was good experience for us and proved that we could build small satellites at USNA.
The Objective of NATSweb was to provide worldwide tracking of GPS equiped remote travelers such as the Naval Academy Boats at sea, cross country travelers, expeditions, or any other travelers which are far from any existing APRS terrestrial tracking infrastructure. The NATSweb satellite downlink from such travelers would be fed into the existing worldwide internet linked APRS system by a few permanent ground stations. This satellite would join PCsat and ISS as a constellation of similar relay satellites.
NATsat was designed as a "strap-on" payload onto a GTO rocket body. It consists of the COMM/Payload module shown here and then whatever solar panels we can strap onto the rocket body...
This photo shows NATSweb undergoing Antenna SWR measurements at 145 MHz. Using 1 inch steel tape antenna, 18" long. SWR of 1.0:1 was achieved.
The Space segment of NATSweb has been demonstrated a number of times in space via MIR School tests, the Shuttle SAREX, and the SPRE mission. . NATSweb is a crash project to produc e a viable spacecraft in a very short time frame. Here are the background topics of design:
APRS is the Automatic Position Reporting Systeem that the Naval Academy uses for tracking its boats and a variety of other vehicles and networks using the APRS Automatic Position Reporting System . The Satellite described here in would be operated under the rules of the Amateur Satellite Service and the rules of the FCC. Although the satellite would be developed as a proof of concept for the Naval Academy , it would be available for all radio amateurs and vehicles.
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This was a private page during the short-fused design phase with other team members. But now it has been made public at a count of 122, now that the design phase is complete. .