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amsatdl edited this page Aug 2, 2019 · 8 revisions



IPS has been designed for the AMSAT space projects (communication satellites for radio amateurs) and has since been found to be a very useful tool for programming small systems. It uses an extremely modular and structured approach to develop programs interactively. Because IPS is a high level language, it allows the sharing of programs regardless of the processor for which they were developed.


IPS mostly is a high level language allowing extremely modular structured programming. In contrast to other languages it is essentially free of syntax rules. It uses RPN ( reverse polish notation ) to make parameter passing between modules extremely simple and is designed to be as unrestrictive as low-level assemblers.

The high-level emulation technique is extremely economical in terms of memory usage - the entire system resides in 6 Kbytes of memory. But programs execute only two to three times slower than optimum assembler code. In most instances this represents no problem, however extremely time-critical applications or special hardware may require some assembly language interfaces. IPS thus employs an integral assembler to facilitate these extensions.


A significant application of IPS has been its use as the Operating System for AMSAT's Phase III series of communications spacecraft. The Oscar-13 (Phase III C) satellite's 1802/IPS computer functioned without missing a beat for eight years until it re-entered the atmosphere in 1996. Impressive for any computer's OS, let alone one functioning in space.

The following AMSAT Satellites were using IPS on their integrated housekeeping computer (IHU):

  • AMSAT P3-A: (launch failure) in May 1980
  • AMSAT-OSCAR 10 (P3-B): successfully launched on June 16th 1983
  • AMSAT-OSCAR 13 (P3-C): successfully launched on June 15th 1988
  • AMSAT-OSCAR 40 (P3-D): successfully launched on November 16th 2000
  • AMSAT OSCAR-21 (Radio Sputnik-14): RUDAK-II successfully launched on 29th January 1991

This Repository is dedicated to Prof. Dr. Karl Meinzer DJ4ZC in recognition of over 40 years outstanding contributions to the AMSAT Amateur Space Programme. He was also the founder of AMSAT Deutschland (AMSAT-DL)


A printed version of the IPS book is available on

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