The flight of the tethered satellite system



The first Tethered Satellite System (TSS-1) Electrodynamics Mission is scheduled for launch aboard the space shuttle ST-46 on July 31, 1992, as a joint mission between the United States and Italy. A 500-kg, 1.6-m-diameter satellite, attached to the shuttle by a thin (.24 cm), conducting, insulated wire (tether), will be reeled upwards from the orbiter payload to a distance of 20 km when the shuttle is at a projected altitude of 300 km.

TSS-1 is an extremely ambitious mission with high-risk payoff potential. This is the type of pioneering mission NASA and the United States should be encouraging, with the risk in the achievement of the mission objectives rather than in safety. The mission has been likened to the maiden flight of a new airplane. We expect surprises and hope to set the stage for the next mission, the TSS-reflight.