An examination of the stability of a long wire in orbit, particularly as it is affected by gravitational gradients. The study indicates that an antenna system of this type would probably be unstable. This condition could be fixed, but the modifications would impose additional problems, the most significant of which is a shorter useful life in orbit. A special case of a wire aligned with the vertical shows a relatively stable behavior, provided the initial disturbances are small.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.