I really want to thank everyone, especially Dick Daniels, for being the photographic packrats we are. I also want to thank those who have sent me captions. I will steal Tom's note to make a caption for the batteries. A lot of new captions will go up this week. I am sure that this one example shows WHY this kind of photographic history is important and not just nostalgia. In my case, I have no memory. I knew I attended the earliest design meeting for AO-40. I did NOT remember it was the first five!
I have been off for almost two weeks for work and Thanksgiving and I will be playing catch up now.
Tom Clark, K3IO wrote:
N4HY sent this note:
There was one series string of Nicads as can easily be discerned from this photograph:
You can notice the series string starts at the upper left and works its way right and then down to the lower string and back to the left.
Those are sealed, space-rated NiCd batteries built to NASA's specification. The package you see is the flight spare for the Radio Astronomy Explorer (RAE) satellites. They originally cost ~$2000 per cell. With later satellites, AMSAT found that we could "make our own" batteries that were better by carefully screening industrial-grade commercial batteries by following a recipe devised by the late Larry Kayser VE3QB/VA3LK/WA3ZIA.
RAE-A = Explorer 38 (http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1968-055A), launched July 4th, 1968 flew in MEO. This satellite had a a pair of Vee-beam antennas which provided gravity gradient stabilization. With each Vee-beam being 750' long, the satellite's 1500' total length made it the biggest structure put into space. The antenna booms were made of flat beryllium copper tape that formed itself into a round tube after being unrolled.
RAE-B = Explorer 49 flew June 15th, 1973 into Lunar orbit (http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1973-039A). It also had the same long Vee-beam antenna. The very lumpy lunar gravity field made for interesting problems with the gravity gradient booms!
FYI -- I note with some pride that I came to Goddard in 1968 as a staff scientist working on RAE-A and then RAE-B. I migrated from low-frequency radio astronomy into Pulsar and VLBI work. FYI#2 -- In addition to the flight spare batteries, Oscar-8's 10M antennas owed their existence to the RAE project.
73, de Tom K3IO (ex W3IWI)