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Re: Laser Satellite Comms



In a message dated 3/2/99 10:49:06 AM Central Standard Time, fordhadr@jmu.edu
writes:

<< 
 Echo I and II were nothing more than *BIG* balloons.  I don't remember the
 details,
 but it seems like they were simply huge mylar (had mylar been invented yet?)
 silvery balloons with a miniscule amount of gas (a CO-2 cartridge or less)
 to keep them inflated in space.  They orbited for several years, and were
 about
 200-feet in diameter (or something like that, as I said I don't remember the
 exact details).  They were *brilliant* ... first magnitude, or even
 minus-one or
 minus-two magnitude.  Their low orbits made them really zip across the sky.
 
 It would seem that a big mylar balloon, with an auto-triggered CO-2
 cartridge,
 with a silvered surface (like those 98-cent emergency blankets at Wal-Mart)
 would be a lot of fun to play with.  Talk about bouncing light signals!   >>

It was a little more complex than that. IIRC, it was the first major use of
aluminized Mylar, but the material is still porious enough that the gas would
not stay inside. A thin coating of a modified gelatin was used on the inside
to prevent the balloon from deflating too soon. I'll email my dad who helped
develope the gelatin.

ck
-- 
Charles S. Krin, DO FAAFP
Member, PGBFH
KC5EVN
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