Optimum Stress Design of a Rotating Wire Antenna

by Richard H. Frick


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An investigation of a possible design for a wire antenna that is extended from a satellite and rotates about it to reflect intermittent radio signals between sending and receiving stations on the ground. In such a satellite, the longer the wire, the stronger the radio echo that can be reflected from it. Given the desired rotation rate (exerting a certain centrifugal force on the wire) and the tensile strength of the wire, this study determines the maximum possible length of the wire. It is indicated that for either steel or metallically coated glass fibers, lengths of 12, 000 ft or more are possible. If two wires are used, extended in opposite directions, total lengths of more than 24,000 ft are possible. These lengths are adequate for useful communication purposes.

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