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Re: Re: [amsat-bb] Laser Satellite Comms

In a message dated 03-03-1999 0:32:56 AM Central Standard Time,
kl7ibv@AMSAT.Org writes:

>  I remember Echo I.  My dad and I would stand on the front steps, and
>  watch it going over with his old WWII binoculars that he found in a
>  bombed out bldg in Germany during the war.  I remember it being very
>  bright.  I must have been about 8 yrs old then.  Wish he was here yet to
>  stand outside with me.  He liked this stuff.
>  This thread is getting more interesting as it goes along.  :-)

OK, got an email back from my Dad...Back in the 60's, he worked for Swift & CO
at the big gelatin plant in the Kearny Meadows of NJ (right about where Giants
Stadium is now...).  He indicated that it was just very thin Aluminum foil,
and that the foil was found to be permeable under the conditions in space (I
think that the balloon was inflated with Helium...).  Gelatin is an amorphous
protein, without the crystal lattices that allowed the gas to escape through
the foil.  A modified gelatin (to allow it to remain flexible even in the
heat/cold cycles of space) was used to line the balloon to allow it to stay
inflated longer. 

I also remember going by the "Big Ear" in Cherry Hill, NJ once or twice...that
was used to bounce signals off of the Echoes.

I do remember him taking me and my eldest sister out on some summer nights and
pointing out that fast moving dot of light as well. 

Another factoid on the same subject: most gelatin at the time was made from
pigskins....so the deployment of the Echo series anticipated "Sesame Street"
by many years on the subject of......."Pigs In Space!"

Charles S. Krin, DO FAAFP
Member, PGBFH
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