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ELECTRODYNAMIC TETHER

CONTENTS
y Introduction y Working y Uses of tethers y Tethered Missions y Tether Dynamics y Construction y Disadvantages y Conclusion y Reference

WHAT IS EDT ??
y Long, thin cable or wire deployed from a

spacecraft
y High strength tethers can enable momentum

transfer from one spacecraft to another


y Conducting tethers can create propulsive forces

through Lorentz force interactions with the Earth s magnetic field

USES OF TETHERS
y Propellantless Propulsion for LEO Spacecraft y Electrodynamic Reboost of the International Space Station y Power Generation in Low Earth Orbit y Used to remove objects from orbit

FUNDAMENTALS OF TETHER DYNAMICS

Description of the forces contributing towards maintaining a gravity gradient alignment in a tether system

FUNDAMENTALS OF TETHER DYNAMICS (contd.)

The tether tension is very less, a 500 kg satellite, suspended 100 km below the center of mass, has a tether tension of = 18g. To sustain that, a tether with a diameter of 2 mm is sufficient

FUNDAMENTALS OF TETHER DYNAMICS (contd.)

Variation of thrust with input power

High-Voltage Orbiting Long Tether (HiVOLT):

The TSS is composed of three components: the TSS Satellite (TSS-S) the tether the TSS Deployer (TSS-D) mechanism.

Construction:
Materials proposed for tether includes:
y Single-wall carbon nanotubes y Aramid, Polybenzoxazole (PBO) fiber ("Zylon") y Toray carbon fiber y Magellan honeycomb polymer M5 y Honeywell extended chain polyethylene fiber y DuPont Aramid fiber y Specialty materials e.g. silicon carbide y Aluminium (6061 T6)

Probability of tether survival for debris impact

Construction (contd.)

The Hoytether: A Space-Survivable Tether Structure a) Section of a tubular Hoytether


("Hoytube ") b) Schematic of undisturbed Hoytether c) Secondary lines redistribute load around a failed primary line without collapsing structure

Lifetime comparison of equal-weight single line and failsafe multiline tethers for a low-load mission.

DISADVANTAGES
y EDT experiences high voltages in space y Prone to vibrations that produce significant mechanical y y y y y

forces Chance for micrometeoroids or debris impact Broken tethers can be a collision risk for other satellites Due to the current spikes, EDT must shielded from other cables and instruments inside the satellite. Pinholes on the surface of EDT generates large amount of HF noise,it may interfere the satellite operation Development is slow

Tethers are next big step in space exploration. Results show that electro dynamic tethers are highly efficient in low earth orbit, and best for altitudes near 400 km. EDT is a simple idea, but one with amazing number of uses. By proper development and testing, EDTs could one day be used as a cheap, lightweight, reliable way to provide Propellant less Propulsion and Power Generation for satellites and to keep the International Space Station in orbit.

References
y Johnson, L., and Balance, J., Propulsive Small Expendable Deployer y

y y y y

System (ProSEDS) Space Demonstration, NASA MSFC White Paper, (1998). Levin, E. M., Stability of the Stationary Motions of an Electrodynamic Tether System in Orbit, Kosmicheskie Issledovaniya, Vol. 25, No. 4, pp. 491-501, July-August, (1987). Lorenzini, E. C., Estes, R. D., and Cosmo, M. L., In-Space Transportation with Tethers, SAO annual report for 1 Sep 96-31 Aug 97, NASA MSFC Grant NAG8- 1303, (1997). www.tethers.com www.sciencevictoria.org.au www.powershow.com www.wikipedia.org