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  • A Titan II-based tethered satellite system

    Paper ID



    • D.S. Crouch
    • J.M. Van Pelt
    • H.A. Flanders


    Martin Marietta Astronautics






    A preliminary study was initiated to verify feasibility of using the orbiting second stage of refurbished Titan II ICBMs as an operational base for future tethered satellite missions to supplement the limited manifest capability of the Space Shuttle fleet subsequent to the first U.S.-Italian demonstration flight in mid-1992. Approximately 40 deactivated Titan Ils are available for space flights, and the operational Vandenberg launch site permits polar orbit missions that are highly desirable for certain Mission Planet Earth and Plasma Physics scientific investigations. The initial studies focused on mission scenarios for potential early missions involving Electrodynamic Tether Plasma Physics and low altitude Aerothermodynamics-Atmospheric Physics investigations in the previously unobtainable range of 90-220 km. New technology development was initiated for high temperature tethers, laser tracking of deployed satellites, and a unique approach for a 2-way, single laser beam communicator that could replace the conventional S-band transponder and its potential low-altitude blackout problem. The preliminary results of the study appear favorable. The potential use of the existing decommissioned Titan IIICBM fleet for tethered and nontethered missions provides a cost-effective boost for space exploration that should be exploited.