TiPS Technical Specifications

System Parameters

Tether length  4 kilometers
Tether nominal diameter  approximately 2 millimeters
Tether construction  The outer layer is Spectra 1000 braid for strength, the core is acrylic yarn which will puff the other braid out to the 2mm diameter and give it a larger cross section to improve its resistance to debris and small micrometeoroids.
Tether breaking strength  approximately 200 pounds 
TiPS altitude/orbit  552 nautical miles, circular 
63.4° inclination
Total weight  118 pounds
Weight of Ralph (lower end body)  83 pounds 
Weight of Norton (upper end body)  23 pounds 
Weight of the tether  12 pounds 
Stiffness of the tether  non-linear, see see Tether Stiffness Page - dead link
Mass Moment of Inertia of Ralph about Spin Axis  4730 lbm in2
Mass Moment of Inertia of Ralph about Transverse Axis  3600 lbm in2
Mass Moment of Inertia of Norton about Spin Axis  1190 lbm in2
Mass Moment of Inertia of Norton about Transverse Axis  1010 lbm in2
Laser retro-reflectors per end mass  18 
Initial TiPS spin rate  4 rpm 
Deployment date  20 June 1996 10:34 GMT 
Time to deploy 4 km tether 42 minutes


This cut-away drawing shows the design of the TiPS spacecraft as it is stowed on its host vehicle. The Marman clamp shown releases Ralph and Norton from one another upon a signal from the timer. The timer is started upon release of TiPS from the host vehicle by the segmented nut shown.

Experiment Development

Experiment Design, Build, Test, Integration Naval Research Laboratory
Tether and Deployer NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
Tether Applications 
Cortland Cable Company
Deployment Data System NASA Marshall Space Flight Center 
Transmitter NASA Langley Research Center
Dynamics Analysis Lockheed Martin Astronautics
Naval Research Laboratory
Tether Applications 

Flight Operations

Flight Operations Lead  Naval Research Lab 
Satellite Laser Ranging Management NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Naval Research Lab
Satellite Laser Ranging Operations AlliedSignal Technical Services
RF Tracking and Orbit Determination US Space Command
Telemetry Reception Air Force Satellite Control Network
Tether Data Analysis Naval Research Lab
Satellite Laser Ranging Stations Starfire Optical Range (SOR), Albuquerque, NM
Air Force Maui Optical Station (AMOS), Maui, Hawaii
MOBLAS-4, Monument Peak, California
MOBLAS-5, Yarragadee, Australia
MOBLAS-7, Greenbelt, Maryland
MOBLAS-8, Quincy, California
McDonald Laser Ranging Station, Fort Davis, Texas
Haleakala Observatory (HOLLAS), Maui, Hawaii
Royal Greenwich Observatory, Herstmonceux, UK
Orroral Geodetic Observatory,Orroral Valley, Australia
GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, Germany
Wettzell, Germany
Observatory Lustbuehel, Graz, Austria
Riga, Latvia
TLRS-3, Arequipa, Peru
TLRS-2, Santiago, Chile
Grasse, France

TiPS Home Page | TiPS Images

© 1996, Naval Research Laboratory