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TiPS - Satellite Information

Designation
Spacetrack catalog number 23937
COSPAR ID 1996-029-F
Name in Spacetrack catalog USA 124

Satellite Details

Orbit 736 x 1,239 km, 63.4°
Category unknown
Country/organisation of origin United States
Mass 54 kg
Dimensions 2 bodies, connected by 4km long tether
Intrinsic brightness (Magnitude) 7.2 (at 1000km distance, 50% illuminated)
Maximum brightness (Magnitude)5.9 (at perigee, 100% illuminated)

Launch

Date (UTC) 12 May 1996 21:32
Launch siteVandenberg AFB,
United States
Launch vehicle Titan 403A

Description

TiPS is the "Tether Physics and Survivability Experiment", and consists of two small bodies connected by a 4 km long tether. The lower body is called "Ralph" and has a mass of 37.6 kg, and the upper one is called "Norton" (10.4 kg). The tether itself has a mass of 5.4 kg, and is non-conducting. TiPS is an interesting satellite to observe through binoculars, and it's possible to see the tether stretching between the two bodies under the right conditions.

Links to further information http://hyperspace.nrl.navy.mil/TiPS/
View from orbit pole
 

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