Tethered sat with NOSS 2-3

Allen Thomson (thomsona@netcom.com)
Sat, 22 Jun 1996 15:04:14 -0700

   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 tethered object, presumably tossed from the "A" object 
of the recent NOSS 2-3 launch, should be an interesting 
object for the amateur satellite watchers' community to try to 
find.  Those equipped for video should try to get pictures.

   P.S.: It would be interesting to know whether the 
"survivability" part of TiPS refers to the tether or the 
satellite as a whole, and what threat it is supposed to survive.