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Old 02-17-2020, 09:42 AM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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Default High-tech [ :-) ] space hardware...

Hello All,

Tool manufacturers (as in the kind whose wares are sold in hardware stores, to the general public) helped us learn about the space environment, what it does to mechanical systems (via friction, among other things), and they directly helped Apollo get to the Moon. (Examples of their creations could even be flown--if modeled carefully--as 1:1 scale, "Oddball" model rockets.) Now:

In the 1960s, TRW (one of the more enterprising, "Can-do" astronautical companies--they were to small spacecraft and probes what Marquardt was to ramjets and attitude control thrusters--a small, lean, yet prolific manufacturer) developed a series of tiny, almost shockingly inexpensive, modular-equipment satellites. The smallest models were even tinier than the Vanguard 1 "grapefruit" satellite, now--along with its spent third stage motor--the world's oldest man-made moons, and:

They were called Environmental Research Satellites (ERS), but were also known by their geometrical shapes; TRS (Tetrahedral Research Satellite), ORS (Octahedral Research Satellite), and--although demonstrated, the types apparently never flew into orbit--DRS (Dodecahedral Research Satellite). A "family portrait" of these pint-size prisms can be seen *here* (see: [the DRS isn't shown in this particular photograph; instead, there is a planar-symmetric prism satellite in the middle of the group]). Here are photos of representative TRS and ORS satellites (see: , , , , and ). In addition:

It's interesting, and also a bit strange (when one considers its inherently easier-to-internally-package shape), that TRW never developed a line of CRS (Cubical Research Spacecraft) as part of their ERS family. They would have, for all practical purposes, invented the 1U CubeSat (even though that designation probably never would have come into being), decades before that highly practical standardized satellite bus architecture was developed (TRW's CubeSat series might have been 4", 5", 6", 8", and perhaps also 10" and/or 12" on a side, with the 4" CRS perhaps gradually becoming a worldwide 'minimum-sat' standard, although--if memory serves--TRW wasn't opposed to using metric dimensions). Also:

In addition to investigating phenomena such as solid-on-solid friction in space, as well as the magnetic, electrical, and radiation environment up yonder, the little ERS birds served the Apollo program. Octahedral ones, called TETR (TEst and TRaining, see: and ), provided tracking practice for the personnel and equipment of the worldwide land-, sea-, and air-based Apollo tracking and communications network. Plus:

The ORS--and especially the TRS--satellites would make interesting 1:1 scale model rocket subjects, which could simultaneously be serious yet "Oddball," whimsical models. "Flying Pyramid" model rockets have flown successfully (using motors up to "M" class, I read some years ago), so Tetrahedral (and Octahedral) Research Satellite models of the various TRW sizes--powered by 13 mm, 18 mm, and 24 mm motors--could easily be built, and would fly reasonably well, by prismatic rocket standards. As well:

After viewing ^this^ octahedral ERS, look closely at *THIS* picture...does the object look familiar? If you've ever done any carpentry, stone masonry, concrete block, brick, or steel construction work, you've used these ERS satellite antennas, which, of course, their makers never even conceived of using them for. Yep, it's a regular Stanley Tool & Die Co. steel measuring tape! It was discovered decades ago--perhaps by TRW, for their ERS satellites--that ordinary steel tape measures make perfect compactly-package-able, self-deploying and self-supporting (to indefinite lengths, if the satellite is spun) radio antennas; many even fly into orbit with their Earthly overall yellow-with-black (and/or red) hash mark lines and numbers.

I hope this material will be interesting.
Black Shire--Draft horse in human form, model rocketeer, occasional mystic, and writer, see:
All of my book proceeds go to the Northcote Heavy Horse Centre
NAR #54895 SR
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