Three electrical engineering students at Weber State College have won top spots in a national electrical engineering competition.

The three, Carol Norman of Mantua, Box Elder County; Greg Campbell, of Kaysville, and Amin Khan, of Layton, placed in the top eight of a contest sponsored by Motorola. The WSC students designed and manufactured a computer as part of the development of the college's next satellite."The students did a lot of research to see if the design we wanted for the satellite was even feasible. What they came up with was a good design," said William G. Clapp, associate professor of electronic engineering technology at Weber State.

The Motorola competition tested students' ability to use all of the electronic capabilities of a computer microprocessor, Clapp said.

The computer created by the students is a backup to the computer that will run Weber State's Astronaut Deployable Satellite, or ADSAT. NASA is considering a launch date for the satellite that Clapp said could be sometime in May.

"These students have excelled in both design and effort and have earned the national recognition," he said.

ADSAT will be WSC's third satellite to orbit the Earth and is designed to conduct a variety of space-related experiments. Once in space, the satellite will send voice messages about on-board experiments. Those messages, generated by a speech synthesizer on the satellite, will relay data to low-cost scanners in elementary, junior high and high schools throughout the world, Clapp said.

"Think of what this could do for the classroom. For teachers it would be like having a chalkboard in space," he said.

ADSAT is a small satellite, shaped like a "really thick-crust pizza box," Clapp said, that was designed and built by students at WSC. Faculty and student engineers plan to launch the satellite in an orbit 190 miles above the Earth via NASA's space shuttle. Clapp said that an astronaut, once in space, will simply take the satellite from a locker and use a hand-held ejection system to shoot it into orbit.

"It's kind of a novel concept, but NASA has been very supportive," he said.