Recent Patents on Space Technology

Sang H. Choi  
NASA Langley Research Center
Hampton, VA
USA

Back

A Review of Space Tether Technology

Author(s): Paul Williams

Affiliation: Delft University of Technology, 123 Inverell Parkway, Tarneit VIC 3029, Australia.

Keywords: Tethered satellites, space tethers, electrodynamics, deployment, momentum-exchange, spacecraft, Earth's equator, Lagrangian approach, longitudinal elasticity, stress-strain nonlinearity, Longitudinal tether vibrations

Abstract:

Tethered satellite technology has the potential to revolutionize our presence in space. This paper provides an overview of the dynamics and applications of tethers in space. Experiments, patents, and papers are reviewed to provide an overview of the current status of tether technology. Key application areas that are reviewed include deployment, electrodynamics, momentum-exchange, and the space elevator. Among the most promising applications for near-term exploitation are electrodynamic orbital maneuvering of satellites with little or no propellant, and momentum-exchange tethers capable of injecting payloads into different orbits. This paper illustrates that these applications have a solid theoretical basis, as well as supporting empirical flight data.

Order Reprints Order Eprints Rights & PermissionsPrintExport

Article Details

VOLUME: 2
ISSUE: 1
Page: [22 - 36]
Pages: 15
DOI: 10.2174/1877611611202010022