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From Gunter's Space Page:

The TiPS (Tethers in Space Physics Satellite) satellite is a tether physics experiment consisting of two end masses connected by a 4 km non-conducting tether. The satellite was deployed on 20 June 1996 at an altitude of 1,022 kilometers.

This experiment is designed to increase knowledge about gravity-gradient tether dynamics and the survivability of tethers in space. TiPS consist of two end masses separated by a four kilometer tether. The End masses, named Ralph (1a) and Norton (1b), weigh 37.7 and 10.8 kilograms, respectively.

How or from where did the the two TiPS (Tethers in Space Physics Satellite) components get the names Ralph and Norton?

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Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton were two characters in a very early (1951-1955) TV sitcom called The Honeymooners. Bonus: The New Horizons satellite that flew past Pluto almost two years ago sported two experiments named Ralph and Alice, named after Ralph and Alice Kramden.

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  • $\begingroup$ Which one was closer to the center of mass, Norton or Ralph? $\endgroup$ – uhoh May 9 '17 at 7:55
  • $\begingroup$ It turns out that Ralph and Alice are on New Horizons! arxiv.org/pdf/0709.4288.pdf $\endgroup$ – uhoh Nov 26 '18 at 11:37

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