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UoSAT-1 (1981)

First modern microsatellite with in-orbit re-programmable computers, UoSAT-1 (1981)

UoSAT-1 image of Corsica and Sardinia

UoSAT-1) was launched on a Delta-2310 from Vandenberg AFB, as a secondary payload and was placed into a 560 km 3am-3pm sun-synchronous orbit.
The satellite design, build and test schedule was completed within a 30 month time-scale, and within a budget of £250,000. UoSAT-1 signals were heard, decoded and analysed by thousands of radio amateurs, schools, colleges, and universities around the world.
In April 1982, after seven months in orbit, the satellite uplink was inadvertently blocked by the downlink, preventing commands from being received. This situation lasted until September, but with the assistance of the Stanford Research Institute in the US, the problem was solved. The predicted orbital lifetime was 3.5 years, but the satellite was only to decay more than 8 years later on the 13th October 1989, whilst still operational.

Martin Sweeting operating UoSAT-1

UoSAT-1 during final assembly and test