Large Satellite to be Illuminated

Walter Nissen (dk058@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Fri, 19 Apr 1996 21:36:42 -0400

STS-77, Endeavour, is scheduled for launch 19960516 1032 into a 39 degree 
inclined orbit on a 10 day mission.  The appendix contains lightly edited 
short excerpts from http://sspp.gsfc.nasa.gov/sp207.html.  Shuttle info is 
available from http://shuttle.nasa.gov. 
 
Brief summary: a large satellite will be dropped in LEO, and will be 
illuminated for a brief interval.  I would guess it might therefore be 
visible even in the shadow of the Earth.  3 separate satellites will be 
apparently be briefly visible, perhaps signalling "K" in Morse code. 
 
Cheers. 
 
Walter Nissen                   dk058@cleveland.freenet.edu 
 
--- 
 
Spartan 207 Mission 
 
Most Ambitious Spartan Yet... 
 
Shortly after the launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour in May 1996 from 
the Kennedy Space Center, FL, the Shuttle's crew will deploy and retrieve 
the Spartan 207/IAE. 
 
The IAE is an inflatable antenna 14 meters in diameter which is mounted on 
three 28-meter struts.  The struts are attached to the Spartan, which will 
become a platform for the antenna. 
 
The IAE experiment will test the feasibility of inflatable structures, 
which will be launched and then inflated like a balloon in space. 
SP207/IAE will test the inflation and performance of a large inflatable 
antenna during a 90-minute mission before jettisoning the antenna. 
 
Surface accuracy of the antenna will be tested by illuminating the antenna 
                                                  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ 
surface with light panels mounted on the Spartan and capturing the 
resulting patterns on video recorders onboard the Spartan. 
 
On flight day 2, after the Shuttle is about 112 m from the Spartan 
carrier, the IAE will be inflated.  After roughly 10 minutes, IAE will be 
almost as large as the Shuttle.  The inflation and surface measurements 
       ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ 
will be conducted over a single orbit.  At the conclusion of the 
experiment, the IAE is jettisoned from the Spartan. 
 
On flight day 3, the Shuttle will retrieve Spartan 207.  Just the Spartan
carrier will be returned to the cargo bay.