March 5: The Museum in Washington, DC will open today. Due to weather, the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA is closed.
Microsat is a type of communications satellite designed, manufactured, and operated by the amateur radio community. Created in 1988, this type introduced a modular design concept for spacecraft. Modules, each containing their own specialized electronics, are stacked together to create the spacecraft structure--a first for amateur, commercial, or government satellites.
University-based student groups used this template to build MicroSats that, beginning in 1990, were launched into orbit and used for two-way ham radio communications and experiments. This artifact is an engineering mechanical test model built to evaluate the modular concept.
MicroSat is part of a long-running tradition of amateur radio community involvement in space communications. Its design demonstrated that small, relatively inexpensive satellites, using everyday electronic components, could perform complex, sophisticated communications tasks.
The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation donated this artifact to the Museum in 2002.
Gift of the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT).