Optical Position Pick-Off in Zero-Drag Satellite.
DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE WASHINGTON D C
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An optical position pick-off for proof-mass in a zero-drag satellite is obtained by placing a spherical mass shielded from all forces except gravity, between a flat screen having four equally spaced photodetectors and a light source. The mass interrupts the light beam and casts a circular shadow on the screen, the periphery of which passes through the center of each of the detectors. A shift in the mass in any direction causes its shadow to cover more of certain detectors and less of others or more of all or less of all. The unbalance of the detectors may be used to actuate small jets to change direction of the satellite until the mass returns to its null position. Author