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RTDS (OAR 907, Musketball)

RTDS (Musketball) [USAF]

RTDS (Radar Tracking Density Satellite) or Musketball was a high-density satellite designed to obtain atmospheric density data at low altitudes.

The spacecraft was a 30-cm-diameter brass sphere with a 2.5 cm wall thickness. Mounted on the surface were two beacon antennas, spaced 180 deg apart, for a C-band transponder. Internal electronics consisted of the transponder and a silver-cadmium battery pack. The battery, with an expected 12-day lifetime, was the sole source of power for the spacecraft. The spacecraft employed an automatic timing device to turn on the transponder for periodic interrogation.

The satellite, which was successfully launched into a polar orbit as part of the payload of OV1 21, performed normally until it reentered the earth's atmosphere on 19 September 1971.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Air density research
Operator: USAF
Contractors:
Equipment: C-band beacon
Configuration: Sphere
Propulsion: None
Power: Batteries
Lifetime: 12 days (planned); 43 days (reached)
Mass: 61 kg
Orbit:
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
RTDS (Musketball, OAR 907, P70-2) 1971-067D 07.08.1971 Va BMRS-A2 Atlas-F OV1 (2×) with OV1 20, LOADS 2 and OV1 21, Gridsphere 1, Gridsphere 2, Mylar Balloon, Rigidsphere, LCS 4

References:

Further LOADS / RTDS missions:
Further STP missions: