Travelling Wave Tube Assembly, Communications Satellite, BS-3N 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 device is a traveling wave tube (TWT), built by Martin Marietta in the early 1990s for the BS-3N communications satellite, owned by the Japanese NHK television company.

TWTs have been and remain a critical technology for communications satellites in geostationary orbit. After a satellite receives a signal, processes it, and then prepares to transmit it, the satellite must first amplify the signal to ensure that it arrives at a receiving antenna on Earth with sufficient strength and integrity. Typical TWTs can amplify a signal by a factor of 100,000 to 1,000,000.

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


  • Non-magnetic white metal
  • Aluminum
  • Anodized Coating
  • Cadmium Plating
  • Synthetic Fabric
  • Steel
  • Synthetic Rubber
  • Paint
  • Plastic
  • Paper
  • Adhesive
  • Ink
  • Gold Plating


  • 3-D (Larger Black Box): 34 × 8.7 × 13.7cm, 2.7kg (1 ft. 1 3/8 in. × 3 7/16 in. × 5 3/8 in., 6lb.)
  • 3-D (Smaller Black Box): 35.6 × 5.9 × 3.7cm, 0.7kg (1 ft. 2 in. × 2 5/16 in. × 1 7/16 in., 1.5lb.)

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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