Project West Ford

By Deane Barker on May 2, 2006

Earth’s Artificial Ring: Project West Ford: I can’t believe this actually happened. Harder to believe is that it worked.

In May 1963, the US Air Force launched 480 million tiny copper needles that briefly created a ring encircling the entire globe.

[…] The first attempt at remote communications using the West Ford belt was made on May 14th, 4 days after the launch. At this point, the dipoles had not completely spread out to fill their entire orbit so they were much more densely spaced than in their final configuration. […] The voice connection was described as “intelligible” and was transmitted at a data rate of approximately 20,000 bits per second — about the speed of a 1992-era telephone modem.