NEWS R E L E A S E

NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
1520 H STREET. NORTHWEST TELEPHONES: DUDLEY 2 - 6 3 2 5

.

W A S H I N G T O N 2 5 . D. C EXECUTIVE 3 - 3 2 6 0

.

FOR RELEASE:

HOLD UNTIL LAUNCH

PROJECT ECHO PAYLOAD AND EXPERIMENT

w-

/

/'

On todays's launch from the Atlantic Missile Range the United States will attempt to place a 100-foot-diameter inflatable sphere into a circular, 1000-mile-altitude orbit. Once in orbit, the

large inflatable structure will be used as a reflector for a series

of passive comunications satellite experiments.
be launched by a Delta three stage rocket.

The sphere will

1 The sphere was fabricated of DuPont Mylar Polyester film, 2

mil (.OOO5

inches) thick, about half the thickness of the cellophane on The satellite's shell is covered with vapor-

a cigapette Qackage.

deposited aluminum to provide radio wave reflectivity of 98$, up to frequencies of 2 , 0 mc. 000 Satellite weight breakdown is: plastic sphere aluminium covering flation)

-

132 pounds;

-

4 pounds; sublimating powder (to provide in-

- 30 pounds; two tracking beacons - 1.4 pounds.

The con-

tainer which carries the sphere into orbit weighs 24 pounds; the Delta third-stage casing which will follow the sphere into orbit weighs about 50 pounds.

.

.

.

.

- 2 -

The sphere will be launched in a southeasterly direction so that the orbital plane will be inclined about 47 degrees from the equator.

600 Traveling about 1 , 0 miles per hour, the satellite will
The belt covered by north and south of

circle the Earth about once every two hours. the orbiting satellite will extend the equator.

47 degrees

During twilight and evening the sphere, when over-

head, will be as visible as a zero magnitude star, about as bright
as the star Vega.

Today's launching is part of a long-range program designed to investigate the feasibility of global communications systems using satellites. One of the primary missions of the national space program is to develop the necessary technology to enable scientists to channel the knowledge they are gaining about space and space vehicles into areas directly benefiting mankind. One o f the "practical applications"

o f space research is in the field of communications.

During the last few years, it has been increasingly apparent that communications lines are- becoming overcrowded. Telephone and Future

telegraph lines are barely able to keep up with the demand.

demands on trans-oceanic telephone cables which are alpeady carrying a heavy burden, will continue to grow. mission is still n o t a reality. Although scientists aren't predicting the end of telephone and
TV transmission as we know it today, they do think that earth

Worldwide TV trans-

satellites will someday provide a much greater capability for global communications. Experimentation in this direction will one day lead

- 3 -

to worldwide W, f o r instance, In the years %s come9 communications satellites might a l s o Serve as relay s t a t i o n s fop messages to and

from space vehicles,
The NASA's communications program is direeked toward determining the optimum systems for va~iousapplications and the technology from which such systems can be engineered, Investigation of' a passive reflector comunicatisns sysbern, in which radio signals (including voice-modulated signals) can be bounced from one paint

on E a r t h to another via a satellite, is the i"frs%s t e p in the program,
The first experiment in this Investiga%ion is Project Echo, John R , Pierce, o f Bell Telephone bbesatmories,,has been credited with the f i r s t concrete reconmendation of the use sf artificial Earth satellites as c o m u n i e a t i o n s links,
Hfa techrraisal

paper was published in 1955* Appmpriately Bell Telephone H;abc~x3atories, under c o n t r a c t to NASA, has joined w i t h t h e NASA ;e%; Propullsion Laboratory to perfom a ; n a $ o ~ o l e in ths Echo proJe:ct, r Although P r o j e c t Echo is an experiment dfreeted by NASA, endependent researchers in the eosnaralrwieatSom f i e l d the W O F I ~ 07n3? have been invited to engage in experiments sf t h e i r own, The 900-

foot sphere hasp in effect, beeoEe a wo~ldwidelabg?ratory t x ~ l , I n this regard, NASA is assisting all of theas Interested exper%men%??s
i n the performance of their own experfme~tsby pr oviding "sasaeking daCn,

The payload was developed under the d%rectiow o f William J, QgSuElivan, Head of the Space Vehicles Gssoup f n the Applied Materia28 and Physics Division, at NASA!s Langley Research Cewtep, satellite is made of 82 separate f l a t g o r s a sf previously covered with
8

The

my la^

polyester ftlm

thin coating o f vapor-deposited aluminum,

- 4 These gores a r e f i t t e d and cemented togethex? t o Form t h e sphere. F a b r i c a t i o n o f t h e spheFe was the rexponsiSiPiSy o ' G o T, S c h j e l d a h l f Company, N o r t h f i e l d , Minnesota, The National M e t a l l i z i n g Division o f Standard Packaging Corp.,
the aluminum covering.

Trenton, New J e r s e y , was r e s p o n s i b l e f o r

Before l a u n c h h g , about 30 pounds o f sublimating powders are i n s e r t e d i n t h e sphere.

IS i s t h e n f o l d e d accordlan-fashio9 and

placed inside a 26$-ineh-diameter magnesium c o n t a i n e r which will

carry it i n t o orbit, the container,)

(Kaiser-Fleetwings,

I n c , , Bristol, Pa.,

made

B o t h sphere and c o n t a i n e r a r e pumped almsst e n t i r e l y

f r e e o f a i r t o decpcase i n f l a t h n rahe at al'cl'c~.de, Two w a f e r - l i k e t r a c k i n g beacons, each welghing 11 ounce^^ are a t t a c h e d t o o p p o s i t e s i d e s o f t h e sphere at; i t s e q u a t o r , They were

developed by A s t r o - E l e c t r o n i c Products D i v i s i o n of Radio Corporation
o f America.
With a power o u t p u t o f about 10 mw,

each w i l l transmit

on the same frequency

--

e i t h e r 107,,97 me

OF

lS7.9b mc depending
five

which of two payloads i s used, diameter and 3/8-inch

Each beacon, about PO %riches i n

t h i c k , i s equipped w i t h 70 sslar c e l l a

nickel-cadmium s t o r a g e b a t t e r i e s
8

A small whip antenna, coiled i.n'a

s p i r a l groove i n each beacon, will s p r i n g ouk; from the s f C e o f &.e

sphere when i t i n f l a t e s , The t h i r d stage o f t h e D e l t a vehicle is equipped with a
telemetry package.
The third-stage c a s i n g w i l l f o l l o w t h e s a t e l l i t e

c l o s e l y d u r i n g t h e f i r s t few o r b i t s , and i t s s i g n a l s (lQ8,064 ne) w i l l assist i n determining t h e sphere's i n i t i a l ~ r b i t . The t e l e m e t r y

will a l s o show payload s e p a r a t i o n from t h i r d stage which should
shortly after i n j e c t i o n i n t o m b i t 0

OCCXP

.

. __. . ._

.

,

. . "

. . .-

..

.

.

. .

-

.

.

-

__

- 5 About two minutes after the payload is injected into orbit,

the magnesium container will be split open by an explosive charge
placed around its middle. The inflatable sphere is released from

its container and gradually begins to inflate with the expansion

of the small mount of residual air left inside, Thirty pounds of
0 sublimating powders cause additional inflation: 1 pounds of benzoic

acid provide the initial expansion and 20 pounds of anthraqufnone provide f o r sustained inflation. There are two primary stations taking part in the Projec% Echo communications experiment::Bell Telephone Laboratories! f a c i l i t y at Holmdel, New Jerseyl and the NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Goldstone station %n California. Radio signals will be bounced be-

tween the East and West Coasts of the U,S. via the orbiting satellite, Following establishment of accurate orbit by beacon, radard and optical tracking, voice modulation transmission will be attempted using frequency modulation (FM) techniques During the experiment, BTL will transmit on a frequency of
960 m:/s for reception at Goldstone, JPL will transmit a 2390 meis

signal t o BTE on the East Coast, Equipment at Goldstone includes
two 85-fo~t-dimete~ paraboloid antennas

--

one a receiver and the

other a transm%$ter, BTL will transmit with a 60-foot dish and will receive with a special horn-reflector antenna, This antenna, which . looks generally like the scoop of a s t e m shoveld f a a recent development designed to cut down radio noise interference, Since JPL is a primary souce of tracking, NASA will n o t try communications experiment until a good orbit has been establfshed.
8

- 6 -

Once accurate orbital elements have been obtained, signals will be bounced tetween the East and West Coasts, Communications equipments of both JPL and BTL have been exercised by bouncing signals between them via the moon and the Tiros I meteorological satellite. Here is a description of the operations involved in the communications experiment: The NASA Goddard Space Flight Computing Center will send orbital calculations to JPL and BTL, These orbital data will be used to position the receiving and transmitting equipment. The transmitting

antenna is "slaved" to the receiving antenna at each site so that the satellite will be "illuminated" by radio waves. Following ac-

quisition at Goldstone, its transmitter and receiver can be used as a self-tracking radar system. An optical boresight system which can

be used when visibility conditions exist will assist the trackers in satellite acquisition, To set up a communication link, BTL will illuminate the sphere with a 960 mc/s signal, This signal will bounce off the satellite in all directions.
A portion of the scattered energy will be pieked

up by the Goldstone station where the receiver is pointed toward the satellite. To complete the communication link, Goldstone will

transmit in the same manner a 2390 mc/s signal for reception at BTL. Transmitted power will average about 10 kw, The time of mutual visibility between the East and West Coasts for any one pass of the sphere is not expected to exceed 16 minutes, Among others, the U S Naval Research Laboratory will cooperate .. in the experiment by attempting to receive signals from JPL at its
. ._.. .. ."

.

.

._ .. . . ..

.

- ..

, .

.. .

... .

.

.

. .

.

"_

- .

.

.

- _.

- 7 facility at Stump Neck, Md., and in addition will attempt t o transmit
to

BTL.
The sphere will be in continuous sunlight for about two weeks,

After this time, the satellite's orbit and the Earth's rotation around the sun will be such that the sphere will be in the EarthPs shadow. Sunlight plays an important part in maintaining the spherels shape, The sublimating powders turn into gas at temperatures slightly above freezing. Unless in sunlight, the temperature of In continuous sunlight

the satellite will be well below freezing.

the sphere's temperature will average about 239 degrees F, Once out of sunlight, gases used to keep the satellite inflated
w i l l return to a solid state.

Scientists are interested bo learn if

and. in what form the satellite will re-inflate when returning to sunlight. There is a question as to the amount of sublimating powders Some will have seeped out through whatUnless the satellite

remaining after two weeks.

ever punctures exist from micrometeorites.

returns to its spherical shape, it will not be useful f o r communications experiments because of the non-uniformity of reflected signals from a misshapen surface. The internal satellite pressure at altitude will be about
.00004 pounds per square inch,

Scientists estimate that this

pressure is at least 25,000 times the pressure due to solar radiation and air drag. The Echo satellite, with a surface of about 31,000 square feet,

is a large, lightweight structure as opposed to the Earth satellites with higher densities which have been launched before. The effects

- 8 of air drag and solar radiation on a three-foot metal payload

of the same weigh6 as Echo would be negligible, These forces will, however, influence the velocity and orbit of the 100-foot sphere, Scientists will be interested to find out how much, This can be done by comparing orbital data of the sphere with the Delta third-stage casing. What effect will micrometeorite impact have on the sphere? Scientists predict that under expected conditions the sphere
w i l l remain physically usable as a reflector for at least a

week, A week's lifetime would be extremely valuable to the communications experimenters. Despite a number of space experiments concerning micrometeorite impact, the status of technical knowledge of their number, size, energy, and size of hole they produce is in an early stage of evolution. Echo experiment should add t o the fund of knowledge now building on the subject, The first attempt to orbit the 100-foot inflatable sphere, May 13, 1960, was not successful due to a malfunction in the launching vehicle. However, the sphere has undergone a number The

of pre-orbital flight tests under the supervision of the Langley Research CenSer, General Mills, Inc,, Minneapolis, Minn., took part in the initial development of this type of inflatable structure, These suborbital launches from NASA's Wallops Station on Virginia's eastern shore began October 28,

1959. These shots were used to test the inflation and ejection
techniques of the Echo sphere, This type of testing is part of a

.

.

-

..

.

. . . .

-

I

- 9 NASA program aimed a t research on advanced i n f l a t a b l e space

structures,

I n addition t o the suborbital s h o t , last October i n which t h e
sphere a t t a i n e d an a l t i t u d e of 250 miles and distance out over the A t l a n t i c of 500 miles, o t h e r launches were: January 16, up 250 miles and out 490 miles; February 27, up 225 miles and out 540
miles; A p r i l 1, up 200 miles and out 570 miles; M y 31, up 210 a

miles and out 540 miles. Leonard J a f f e i s NASA's Chief o f Communications S a t e l l i t e Programs. Robert J. Mackey, Jr, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Echo Project d i r e c t o r for B e l l Telephone
W. K. Victor i s project d i r e c t o r

i s Echo Project Manager,

Laboratories i s W i l l i a m Jakes.

f o r the J e t Propulsion Laboratory.

-

END

-

No. 2 8/69
J&JyCE ;T,yz:m
This i s t h e second launch of tke Sel-tn -~rehic:ie. ! 3 f4--.+2w - x _-- ' unsuccessful attempt t o lauich a 100-foot i n f k t a b l e sphere May The DougJ..as Aircraft Conpaay7 responsible for i t s development. April
*7r%lVCl,.>

83

13, 1960.

Ix

tc:.Lz;r cs~<:ac5

'io 2L.4SA7 is

The $24 a i l l i o n coctract, sigmd. in l a t e

1959, c a l l e d for production m ; aevelcpne~t,of 12 3el'ie.s to be ussd C

f o r a v.wieJiy of satellite 2nd deep space xKs:$.frx$,s(J:J.-

.

rgGrJ ar16 1963.

The Delta w c l l l d be what NASA AlW.nis5rator '2. Kei.th G h m a z e a l l a d

"a much needed interim vehizle" f o r u s e m - t i 2 niwe p o w e r f d EKE
a r e ready.
The contract vas the f i r s t that M A signed d i r e c t l y w i t h :~.-&~s%,y

f o r development of laulrch vehicles.

With otiier veh?_iclc:s, (x-: '"ap1

Department of Defense and l&er assig3ed to X U A , contract rmLmgernext l i s conducted for N S by a m i l i t a r y agency. AA
%is i s trile, f o r exmple, i n

t h e case of t h e U. S . A i r Force B a l l i s t i c Missile Dlvislol: f o r Atlas-JV~ks and Thor-Ables

.
Its

The Delta stands 92 f e e t high and has a m i m m . diameter of e i g h t f e e t .
I t s fueled weight on t h e pad 5s a l i t t l e less tlmn U 2 , O O O pounds.

Rocketdyne f i r s t - stage engine develops 150,000 poii-ds t h r u s t . I n configuration, Delta i s similar t o Thor-Able. PJew f e a t a - e s j-n

Delta a r e an improved a u t o p i l o t and radio gdldarcz sys.tem for f i r s t and second stage powered f l i g h t and precise a t t i t u d e control f o r t h e longer

coast period between second stage bumout and third stage i g n l t f o 3 .
The f i r s t stage of Delta i s a Douglas SM-75 Thor intermediate range b a l l i s t i c m i s s i l e without t h e Thor guidance system a d with ab-&or t o receive

- 2 -

the second stage.

The first stage weighs about 100,000 pomds fueled and has
e

a t h r u s t of approximately l 5 O , O O O poiu?d.s
and kerosene.

It i s propelled by l i q u i d oxyge-3

The second stage i s an Aercjet-General AJl0-118 l i q u i d engihi which m e

was modified from the aecorid s t w e of Vasgpzd arm2 Thor-Able vehicles.

IC,

weighs more thar? 4,000 pounds and develops a t h r u s t of about 7,500 poup1d.s. The stage, paclraget?.by Dougles, a l s o corbaiss a p i d a n c e compartment f o r t h e Bell Teleplnoiw 2abo::atories
radio gaidance system.

Co-contractor with

Bell f o r t h e grcidmce systen i s Rerni-w>ox Eand UnSvac of St. Paul, K i m . The t h i r d stage i s ari A-llegany Sallis-tics Laboratory
P C

ABL-248 s o l i d
e

propellaxt rocket a l s o origiiiated for the Y m g a r d and TS?or--ilble more than 500 pounds

1% weighs

including propellant end produces a t h r u s t of about

3,000 pounds.

I n the stage, a l s o b u i l t by rhuglds, the ~ ~ ~ - motor is 2 4 8

mounted on a spin t a b l e .

I n the f i r i n g sequence, the %or f i r s t stage provides about 160
seconds of powered f l i g h t during which the rocket i s gJic2ed by the Bell Telephone Laboratories Guibnce Systerr. art?,roll and p i t c h programmers.
A t burnout of t h e Thor, it separates and see-ei-iters t h e atmosphere.

The second stage i g n i t e s almost i m e l l i a t e l y a f t e r f i r s t stage cut-off. After 20 seconds of powered flight t h e nose f a i r i n g which

protected t h e payload and t h i r d stage during launch i s j e t t i s o n e d . The second stage f i r e s for about 1.15 seeonas a l s o being s-teeredby t h e
BTL guidance system.

After t h e second stage i s c o m n d e d o f f , t h e vehicle coasts f o r about 15 minutes with t h e second stage s t i l l attached. During t h i s period,

t h e vehicle and payload coasts some 800 miles up i n t o spaxe and about

. . ."

..

.

~

,

.. -

..

.

- 3 2300 miles down range.

I t s a t t i t u d e i s cofitrolled during coast.

After coEst, i n rapid sequence, the t h i r d stage i s s y m up t o 120 spm by small spin rockets t o s t a b i l i z e i t s f l i g h t , the t h i r d stage i g n i t e s , and t h e second stage i s separated by explosive b o l t s . The t h i r d stage f i r e s f o r

C about 11.0 seconds achieving orbital velocity a'about 16,000 miles per hour.
After t h i r d stage burnout, de-spin rockets slow t h e r o t a t i o n . The

empty t h i r d stage casing, weighing abcu-b 50 pounds, i s separatekl from t h e uhich r e t a r d s i t s velocity and i s tumbled by a l a t e r a l paylced by a s p r i n ~ rocket so it w i l l not i n t e r f e r e with t h e payload.
A telemetry transmitter weighing

15 pouszds

i s mounted on an instrument

rack

0 : top 1

of t h e t h i r d stage motor j u s t below the payload separation band.

Four poles of the t u r n s t i l e antenna a r e folded down over t h e t h i r d stage motor u n t i l the fairing i s jettisoned. The t r a n s m i t t e r w i l l operate a t a frequency of 108.06 l/lC continuously f o r two or three days s o t h a t t h e t h i r d stage casing can be tracked. power i s 300 milliwatts.

Its

The t h i r d stage i s expected t o remain i n o r b i t

near enough t o t h e i n f l a t e d sphere long enough t o assist i n determining accurate o r b i t a l data on the sphere.
i W A Headquarters Delta Project Manager i s Vincent L. Johnson.

William Schindler i s t h e Delta technical d i r e c t o r a t t h e Goddard Space
F l i g h t Center. Head of Goddard's F i e l d P r o j e c t s Branch at t h e A t l a n t i c

Elissile Range i s Robert Gray. Horace

Irwin i s t h e Delta project engineer at Douglas A i r c r a f t i n
Douglas manager a t AMEl i s B i l l E . S t i t t .

Santa Monica, Calif.

-END-

. .".. .

._ .

..

,

.

..

_- -.

No. 3

8/60
PROJECT ECHO

TRACKING

Tracking during the Project Echo experiment is under the overa l l d i r e c t i o n of NASA's Goddard Space F l i g h t Center.
AA f o r the N S experiment w i l l be provided by: Tracking services

B e l l Telephone Laboratories'

s t a t i o n , Cape Canaveral, F l a . ; t h e A i r Force's radar t e s t s i t e i n Trinidad,
B.W.I.,

operated by t h e Rome (New York) A i r Development Center; t h e NASA-

J e t Propulsion Laboratory's Goldstone s t a t i o n , Camp Irwin, C a l i f . ; Lincoln Laboratory's Millstone H i l l radar s t a t i o n , Westford, Mass.; NASA's Minitrack network; and o p t i c a l tracking s t a t i o n s operated f o r NASA by t h e Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, Mass.
BTL's guidance radar a t Canaveral w i l l provide i n i t i a l t r a j e c t o r y

data.

During t h e launch phase, Minitrack s t a t i o n s a t F t . Myers, F l a . , and t h e down-range s t a t i o n at Ascension, U.K.,

Antigua, B.W.I.,

w i l l track

c t h e Delta third-stage which c a r r i e s a beacon transmitting on 108.06 m with a power output of 60 mw. Trinidad w i l l a l s o t r a c k t h e t h i r d stage.

After payload separation, Trinidad w i l l "skin track" t h e payload by radar
t o observe i n f l a t i o n of t h e 100-foot sphere. Tracking data w i l l be

transmitted t o Goddard's Computing Center f o r a rough determination of t h e sphere's i n i t i a l o r b i t . These o r b i t a l computations w i l l m e d i a t e l y be

sent out t o t h e other s t a t i o n s taking p a r t i n t h e Echo p r o j e c t . Goldstone and Millstone w i l l radar and beacon t r a c k t h e sphere when

it comes within contact.
The Minitrack s t a t i o n s w i l l t r a c k t h e beacons c a r r i e d by the sphere,

and t h e instrumented Delta t h i r d stage as long as it transmits.

Since t h e

..

.

.

.

-

- 2 third-stage casing w i l l follow c l o s e l y behind the 100-foot s a t e l l i t e during
t h e i n i t i a l o r b i t s , tracking data f r o m t h e s e s t a t i o n s w i l l be u s e f u l i n

determining t h e Echo sphere's o r b i t . Antigua, B.W.I.;

Minitrack s t a t i o n s are located at:
Lima, Peru;

Antofagasta, Chile; Blossom Point, Md.;

Quito, Equador; Santiago, Chile; Woomera, Australia; Johannesburg, South Africa; San Diego, Calif

.;

and F o r t Meyers, F l a .
The

Optical tracking f i g u r e s importantly i n the experiment.

Smithsonian operates 12 s t a t i o n s equipped with s a t e l l i t e tracking BakerNunn cameras. These are located a t : Organ Pass, N.M.; Olifantsfontein,

South Africa; Woomera, Australia; San Fernando, Spain; Tokyo, Japan; Naini T a l , India; Arequipa, Peru; Shiras, Iran; Curacao, N.W.I.
Fla.; V i l l a Dolores, Argentina; and Maui, H a w a i i .
; Jupiter,

I n addition, 45

l'Moonwatchll teams around t h e world, composed of amateur o p t i c a l t r a c k e r s reporting t o t h e Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, w i l l assist i n tracking.

Data from all tracking s t a t i o n s w i l l be transmitted t o Goddard
where t h e sphere's o r b i t w i l l be continually re-evaluated. Goddard's

Computing Center w i l l send current o r b i t a l data t o a l l s t a t i o n s taking part i n the project.

A nuniber of independent groups a r e expected t o t r a c k the sphere
i n connection with t h e i r own communications experiments. The Goddard

Space F l i g h t Center w i l l provide these independent experimenters o r b i t a l information as soon as it i s accurately determined.

- END -

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful