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English: OV1-8 Passive Communication Satallite (PASCOMSAT) Gridsphere To reduce the effects of solar pressure and space drag, the USAF contracted with the Goodyear Aerospace Corp. for construction of a 30-foot diameter grid-sphere balloon. It was made of a soft aluminum wire grid imbedded in a special plastic designed to dissolve in space under the sun's strong ultraviolet rays. On July 13, 1966, the USAF grid-sphere payload was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., atop an Atlas booster. It went into orbit 620 miles above the earth and was automatically inflated with helium. The plastic covering soon dissolved, leaving a 30-foot diameter open aluminum structure orbiting the earth. Tests indicated that the satellite would remain in orbit for at least 11 years and that it had a reflective power five times greater than that of a solid sphere.
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