Re: Observation of Telstar

Philip Chien (
Fri, 17 Jan 1997 09:34:53 -0500

"Bill Bard" <> asks:

>Regarding Telstar 401 & Superbird A, are they of similar design? Are they
>normally a 3 axis stabilized satellite?

Similar designs, different companies.

Telstar 401 was the original GE-7000 satellite (now Lockeed Martin Astrospace)

Superbird A was built by Space Systems Loral (which by coincidence is
building Telstar 5 and has purchased AT&T Skynet).

They're roughly the same size, have similar solar arrays, and would
probably look identical to ground observers.

>If Telstar 401 was 3 axis
>stabilized and lost power, I would expect the momentum wheels to stop and
>the angular momentum to "passed" to the satellite body causing it to
>start spinning (ie just because it's spinning doesn't mean it had a fuel

correct, and based on Mike McCants's observations it's a pretty good bet ...

Philip Chien, KC4YER
Earth News - space writer and consultant
note new E-mail address -