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Gridsphere 1, 2 (AVL-802)

Gridsphere 1, 2 (left and right) [USAF]

The Gridspheres were experimental passive communications satellites (part of the AVL-802 experiment), which were to overcome the drag problems of balloon satellites. They were a follow on to the OV1 8 / PasComSat experiment. The Gridspheres consisted of wire mesh, whish was embedded in a photolyzable balloon. After inflation in space, the UV radiation causes the ballon to vaporize, leaving a wire frame in spherical shape. This gridsphere reflects radio waves as good as a aluminized balloon, but has much less atmospherical drag and a longer orbital life. The pairs Gridspheres differed in having different spaced wire mesh.

The AVL-802 experiment contained also an aluminized Mylar Balloon of the same size to compare the reflection properties and the drag of the Gridspheres with a real balloon. Also included was Rigidsphere, a passive spherical satellite for atmospheric drag measurements.

The first attempt to orbit the AVL-802 experiment failed, but it was successfully repeated 3 years later.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Experimental
Operator: USAF STP (Space Test Program)
Contractors:
Equipment:
Configuration:
Propulsion:
Power: None
Lifetime:
Mass:
Orbit: 778 km × 914 km, 87.63 (#1); 778 km × 913 km, 87.63 (#2)
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Gridsphere (1) (AVL-802 Sphere 7-1, P68-1) 1968-F07 16.08.1968 Va SLC-3E F Atlas-SLV3 Burner-2 with Orbiscal 1, OV5 8, Gridsphere 2, Mylar Balloon, Rigidsphere, LCS 3, LIDOS, RM 18 & UVR, Radcat, SECOR 11, SECOR 12
Gridsphere (2) (AVL-802 Sphere 7-2, P68-1) 1968-F07 16.08.1968 Va SLC-3E F Atlas-SLV3 Burner-2 with Orbiscal 1, OV5 8, Gridsphere 1, Mylar Balloon, Rigidsphere, LCS 3, LIDOS, RM 18 & UVR, Radcat, SECOR 11, SECOR 12
Gridsphere 1 (AVL-802 Sphere 7-1, P70-2) 1971-067H 07.08.1971 Va BMRS-A2 Atlas-F OV1 [Star-13A] with OV1 20, LOADS 2 and OV1 21, RTDS, Gridsphere 2, Mylar Balloon, Rigidsphere, LCS 4
Gridsphere 2 (AVL-802 Sphere 7-2, P70-2) 1971-067G 07.08.1971 Va BMRS-A2 Atlas-F OV1 [Star-13A] with OV1 20, LOADS 2 and OV1 21, RTDS, Gridsphere 1, Mylar Balloon, Rigidsphere, LCS 4
Further STP missions: