Tethered sat with NOSS 2-3

Philip Chien (kc4yer@amsat.org)
Mon, 24 Jun 1996 14:03:41 -0400

thomsona@netcom.com (Allen Thomson) said:
>   Interesting news in the AWST that just landed in the mailbox:
>   Aviation Week and Space Technology
>   June 24, 1996, p.17
>      The U.S. Naval Research Lab deployed a 118-lb. (53 kg)
>   experimental tether satellite in a circular orbit at an altitude
>   of 1,022 km (552 naut. mi.) and inclination of 63.4 deg. The
>   Tether Physics and Survivability TiPS) spacecraft consists of
>   two small end-masses connected by a 4-km (2.5-mi.) nonconductive
>   braided tether.  The satellite was carried into space this spring
>   with a classified payload that was launched on a Titan 4
>   booster.  TiPS was then jettisoned from its "host vehicle on
>   June 20, the NRL said.  In an unprecedented move, the National
>   Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which produces and operates U.S.
>   intelligence satellites, said it provided funding for TiPS'
>   launch and operation, contributing roughly half of the funding
>   for the $2.1 million project.

This is a partially classified Naval Research Laboratory project.  A paper
was presented last summer at the Utah State Small Satellite annual

The survivability is indeed survivability of the tether - from meteoroid or
debris damage.  I believe the tether is identical to the SEDS tether (see
my photo on the TSS viewer's home page) - it's made by the same company.

The two end-masses are nicknamed "Ralph" and "Norton" - with Ralph being
the larger of the two (characters from the classic "Honeymooners" TV series
staring Jackie Gleason and Art Carney).