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USNA Astronautics

Naval Academy Small Satellite Program - Current Projects

Every year the Astronautics track educates aerospace engineers in spacecraft design culminating in the senior project, Capstone Design Course.  Although all of these projects are designed to fly, it is not possible to find free launches for all of them.

CURRENT Projects

QIKCOM-2 also took advantage of a launch with a host spacecraft on the eXCITe mission scheduled for launch in late 2016.  QIKCOM-2 continues the Amateur APRS missions of prior USNA spacecraft but also adds a simpler “touchtone” uplink capability so that users worldwide can use existing radios with keypads instead of the more expensive specialized APRS radios of past satellites.  QIKCOM-2 thus allows position reporting and text messaging from anywhere on earth using simple $90 radios.

PSAT-2 (USNA-14) – Manifested on the STP-2 launch of SPACE-X heavy lift vehicle in mid-2018, this Amateur communications satellite has integrated all of the APRS command and control as well as APRS user transponder onto a single circuit card as the baseline of future USNA CubeSat missions.  It carries forward the APRS data relay network pioneered by USNA since PCSAT in 2001 and includes the PSK-31 and Touchtone Texting experiments of QIKCOM-2 all in a single satellite.   See

BRICSat-2 (USNA-15) –  is a 1.5U Amateur CubeSat with thrusters from G.W. University to experiment with attitude control.  It also supports am Amateur Radio PSK31 multi-user text-messaging transponder like PSAT.  It is manifested with PSAT-2 on the STP-2 launch currently scheduled for mid-2018.

HFSAT (USNA-16) is designed to be an Amateur HF satcom experiment to demonstrate the use of HF radios for simple backup HF satcom.  The concept is that every unit from the largest ships to the man in a foxhole has common HF radios.  This satellite allows any unit access to satcom without needing special radios.  The detail design began fall 2016 and initial tests will use HF satellite allocations in the Amateur Satellite service as well as amateur experimenters worldwide. 

NSAT  (USNA-17) is a 1.5U federal CubeSat to carry two experiments and will be the first USNA satellite to use DoD command and control system licensed via the NTIA process.  The first payload will test the use of simplified encryption techniques in space and the second will fly an experimental distributed power system for NASA.

TUGSAT  (USNA-18) is a 3U Amateur CubeSat design to provide attitude control and propulsion using several G.W. University thrusters.

RSAT (USNA-19) is the first USNA Amateur Robotics mission that will carry two remote manipulator arms for robotic investigations and manipulation in space.  The RSAT robotics module (a 3U CubeSat) will be attached to TUGSAT satellite that can provide attitude control and propulsion.

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