1 KM Long Hoytether Set for March 27 Launch

the Multi-Application Survivable Tether
I got this tidbit from Clark Lindsey of HobbySpace who is at the Space Access 2007 conference. Tethers Unlimited will launch the MAST Experiment March 27 on a Dnepr rocket. The Multi-Application Survivable Tether (MAST) will be the secondary payload. The MAST experiment consists of three staked picosatellites. Once on orbit, the picosatellites will separate and deploy a 1,000 meter (1 KM) long Hoytetherâ„¢ structure.

Three days after launch communications should be established and checks will begin of the picosatellites. Seven days after launch the picosatellites will begin to separate.

The middle picosatellites, called "Gadget", will very slowly crawl up and down the tether pictures for analysis will help determine how quickly a tether experiences damage due to impacts by micrometeoroids and orbital debris, as well as erosion by atomic oxygen and UV light.

The total cost of the MAST program is under $1 million and was partially funded by NASA's Small Business Technology Transfer contract as well as internal funding.

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