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Autonomous Geolocation and Message Communication System and Method

Abstract: 

A system and method for transmitting information to a receiving station via one or more Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites
includes a device which is capable of operating autonomously to transmit signals to a selected LEO satellite for relay to a
receiving station identifying the device and its geolocation including longitude and latitude and/or speed, altitude and heading or
course. The device includes a microprocessor which operates a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver for receiving GPS
signals to identify its geolocation and precise time. A nonvolatile memory onboard the device stores LEO satellite ephemeris
data, and identification, operational and message formatting information to enable the device to transmit information including
voice, data and/or the geolocation of the device to a selected LEO satellite, such as the next visible LEO satellite, for relay to a
receiving station. The device may be operated to select the next visible LEO satellite for transmission of information when the
satellite is visible and the device is within the LEO satellite visibility range or footprint. Alternatively, the device may select one
or more LEO satellites for transmission at selected times and may store information, including geolocation data, when a selected
LEO satellite is visible.

Patent Number: 
6,147,644
Date Of Issue: 
11/14/2000
Inventors: 

M. Pike Castles;Austin Walker Body Jr.;James Andrew Moryl