Echo 1 Communications Satellite
Launched in 1960, Echo 1 was designed to explore the new field of
communications via space. Its design was remarkably simple: a reflective
sphere 30 meters (100 feet) in diameter that bounced signals directed at it
from one location on Earth to another. By the time Echo 2 was launched in
1964, other types of communications satellites had proven superior, and
researchers used the Echos primarily for scientific experiments.
Echo satellites posed a unique technical challenge. They were essentially
balloons sent into orbit folded flat and then inflated in space. Inflation had
to proceed carefully to ensure the integrity of the satellite's surface. This
one is a flight spare folded in its launch canister.
|Length, upper stage:
||2.4 m (8 ft)
|Width, Echo container:
||0.9 m (3 ft)
||G.T. Schjeldahl Co.
Transferred NASA Langley Research Center