Bubble Memory, Microelectronic Hybrid, Milstar Communications Satellite


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

This artifact is a memory control device designed for use in the first generation of Milstar military communications satellites.

To meet weight and space constraints on the spacecraft, the design achieved complex function in a small size by the use of layering. Beneath the visible surface of electrical devices and connections are six additional conducting layers (and twelve non-conducting layers). The buried conducting layers provide additional pathways for connecting the electrical devices on the hybrid's top layer. The completed hybrid is an ingenious puzzle in which more than three hundred chips and devices are integrated through several thousand connections. The gold-colored wire pins on the sides of the case connect the hybrid to a circuit board or electronic device.

This design represented the state of the art in miniaturization for such hybrids as of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Lockheed Martin donated this artifact to the Museum in 1998.

Collection Item Long Description:

Inventory Number


Credit Line

Gift of Lockheed Martin

Country of Origin

United States of America


Overall: copper, composite resins, gold, plastics


  • Overall: 4 in. wide x 1/4 in. deep (10.2 x 0.6cm)
  • Other: 1/4 in. deep x 4 in. long x 4 in. wide (0.6 x 10.2 x 10.2cm)

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


SPACECRAFT-Unmanned-Instruments & Payloads

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