Re: Giant Inflatable Antennas in Space

Conrad.Weeseman (
Mon, 22 Jan 1996 16:41:49 +0100 (MET)

On Mon, 22 Jan 1996, Dave Mullenix wrote:

> The January 13 issue of "Science News" has a three page article titled
> "New Year in Space Science".  Under May, it says,
>     "A prototype of an inflatable radio antenna is scheduled
>     to make a one-way trip on the space shuttle in May.
>     Deployed from the shuttle, the mylar antenna will inflate
>     to 100 feet in length and 50 feet in diameter.  As it rides
>     for less than a day on a free-flying space platform known as
>     Spartan, scientists will study its response to solar heating
>     and pressure.  Then astronauts will retrieve the reusable
>     Spartan platform, leaving the prototype antenna to burn up in
>     Earth's atmosphere.  Among a variety of proposed applications,
>     inflatable space-based radio antennas could scan the heavens
>     to examine radiowave-emitting stars and galaxies, as well as
>     to measure soil moisture on Earth's surface."
> Does anybody know the inclination for this flight?  If that puppy
> is aluminized, it should be bright!
> I've often wondered what would happen if you took two H-U-G-E sheets
> of mylar, aluminized one of them and then locked them both into a giant
> embroidery hoop and pumped a little air in between them.  Does anybody
> know how to calculate whether it's possible to inflate the aluminized
> sheet into a parabola this way?
> Space is probably the only place where you can build _really_ large
> dishe antennas.
> Dave, N9LTD
> Hi Dave,
For your interest I send you a NASA-info-bulletin about STS-77.
When more NASA-info is available I'll send you.

73's de Conrad []

                                  STS-77 (77)
          Endeavour (11)
          Pad 39-B (37) (estimated)
          77th Shuttle Mission (estimated)
          11th Flight OV-105 (estimated)

          John H. Casper (4), Commander
          Curtis L. Brown Jr. (3), Pilot
          Daniel W. Bursch (3), Mission specialist
          Mario Runco, Jr.(3), Mission Specialist
          Marc Garneau (2), Mission Specialist (CSA)
          Andrew Thomas (1), Mission Specialist

          OPF --
          VAB --
          PAD --

Mission Objectives:


          Launch Mid May, 1996 (ESTIMATED)

          Altitude: 153 nm
          Inclination: 39 degrees
          Duration: 10 days, hours, minutes, seconds. (Estimated)
          Distance: miles

          SRB: BI-080
          ET : SN-78
          MLP :
          SSME-1: SN-2037
          SSME-2: SN-2040
          SSME-3: SN-2038

          KSC (estimated)
Mission Highlights          
   Last Updated Saturday January 20 03:17:12 EDT 1996