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Gravity-gradient measurements down to approximately 100-km height by means of long-tethered satellitesLong-tethered satellite systems for Shuttle flights would make measurements of the earth's gravitational field possible to a spatial resolution approaching 100 km. For instance, a subsatellite carrying a gravity gradiometer could be made to orbit at a height of 110 km by means of a 110-km tether tied to the Shuttle in a 220-km orbit. Even with an overall instrument sensitivity as poor as 1 Eotvos unit (e.u.), it would be possible to measure spatial wavelengths of approximately 600 to 700 km (i.e., harmonics of 80th to 70th degree). Also, a system of two satellites (one of which could be the Shuttle orbiter or one of its payloads) connected by a tether a few tens of kilometers long could provide a simple and sensitive means of detecting gravity anomalies characterized by wavelengths of a few hundred kilometers. In this system, the observable would be the mechanical tension on the tether, and a sensitivity up to 0.01 e.u. could be attained, provided the two satellites are tracked from the ground with sufficient accuracy.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Colombo, G.
(Harvard Coll. Observatory Cambridge, MA, United States)
Gaposchkin, E. M.
(Harvard Coll. Observatory Cambridge, MA, United States)
Grossi, M. D.
(Harvard Coll. Observatory Cambridge, MA, United States)
Weiffenbach, G. C.
(Harvard College Observatory and Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Cambridge, Mass., United States)
Date Acquired
August 8, 2013
Publication Date
October 1, 1976
Subject Category
Astronautics (General)
Report/Patent Number
IAF PAPER 76-064
Meeting Information
Meeting: International Astronautical Congress
Location: Anaheim, CA
Start Date: October 10, 1976
End Date: October 16, 1976
Sponsors: International Astronautical Federation
Accession Number
Funding Number(s)
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