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Project West Ford

NSSDCA ID: 1963-014A-01

Mission Name: MIDAS 6
Principal Investigator:Dr. Donald C. Maclellan


This experiment consisted of ejecting a belt of thin microwave dipoles into orbit around the earth to serve as an artificial scattering medium for radio signals. Nineteen kilograms of copper needle dipoles (350 million) were placed into a near-circular, near-polar orbit at a mean altitude of 3650 km. Each dipole was 0.00178 cm in diameter and 1.78 cm long. The dipoles were observed both optically and by radar. Only about 50 percent of the dipoles separated. The remainder stuck together and orbited in various sized clusters. Nevertheless, the experiment was still a success. For a further description see Goldber, 'Project West Ford - Properties and Analyses, Introduction,' Astron. J. vol. 66, April 1961, page 105.

Alternate Names

  • MIDAS6/ProjectWestFord

Funding Agency

  • Department of Defense-Department of the Air Force (United States)


    Additional Information

    Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office



    NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
    Dr. Irwin I. ShapiroOther InvestigatorMassachusetts Institute of
    Mr. W. E. MorrowOther InvestigatorMassachusetts Institute of Technology
    Dr. Donald C. MaclellanPrincipal InvestigatorMassachusetts Institute of
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