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Colin Franklin on the design challenges of Canada's First Satellite Alouette I

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Uploaded on November 3, 2021

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Colin Franklin on the design challenges of Canada's First Satellite Alouette I

2021-11-03 - Colin Franklin, Defense Research Telecommunications Establishment Chief Electrical Engineer for Alouette I discusses the design challenges of Canada’s first satellite.

(Credit: Canadian Space Agency)

Transcript

Colin Franklin: But on the design challenges that we had – there were numerous challenges. One was we had started off had no idea how to get the data to the ground from the – particularly from the radar.

And in those days it was not possible to store the data. There was – tape recorders were not reliable, and semiconductor memory was decades in the future.

So we elected to transmit the data to ground stations scattered around the world, a total of about 13 of them. And that was a major decision.

The next one was the antenna. We had again no idea at the start what kind of antenna we should – we might use. Fortunately, a couple of our people visited the National Research Council, and there was a George Klein at the NRC who had a design for an extendible tubular antenna or mast I think.

And that design – this tubular member – had quite – had much greater, of course, bending strength than if it was just rolled out. And that – of course it couldn’t – it wasn’t in any shape to fly on the satellite, so it required a lot of engineering on the part of the De Havilland in Toronto to produce this – what became known as STEM: storable tubular [extendible] member.

And that solved the – our antenna problem. Which as I say at the start, we had no idea.

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