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Tethers in Space - A Propellantless Propulsion In-orbit Demonstration

Tethers in Space - A Propellantless Propulsion In-orbit Demonstration

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Published by Michiel Kruijff
Space tethers are cables that connect satellites or other endmasses in orbit. The emptiness of space and the near-weightlessness there make it possible to deploy very long and thin tethers. By exploiting basic principles of physics, tethers can provide propellantless propulsion and enable unique applications such as the provision of comfortable artificial gravity or the removal of space debris. Nevertheless there are still no tether applications in use today - there appears to be a "gap of scepticism".
A safe tether and deployer system has therefore been designed and verified with the help of simulation and innovative ground testing equipment. Through a hands-on educational approach, the YES and YES2 low-cost space tether experiments have been launched into orbit. In September 2007, all 32 km of the YES2 tether are deployed in orbit. With the help of this tether, a student-built re-entry capsule is deorbited over Kazakhstan.
This work reports this design and analysis effort, with the aim to raise confidence in the use of space tethers.
Space tethers are cables that connect satellites or other endmasses in orbit. The emptiness of space and the near-weightlessness there make it possible to deploy very long and thin tethers. By exploiting basic principles of physics, tethers can provide propellantless propulsion and enable unique applications such as the provision of comfortable artificial gravity or the removal of space debris. Nevertheless there are still no tether applications in use today - there appears to be a "gap of scepticism".
A safe tether and deployer system has therefore been designed and verified with the help of simulation and innovative ground testing equipment. Through a hands-on educational approach, the YES and YES2 low-cost space tether experiments have been launched into orbit. In September 2007, all 32 km of the YES2 tether are deployed in orbit. With the help of this tether, a student-built re-entry capsule is deorbited over Kazakhstan.
This work reports this design and analysis effort, with the aim to raise confidence in the use of space tethers.

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Published by: Michiel Kruijff on Aug 03, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/14/2011

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Tethers
 
in
 
Space
A
 
Propellantless
 
Propulsion
 
In
OrbitDemonstration
 
Kabels
 
in
 
de
 
ruimte
Een
 
demonstratie
 
van
 
stuwstofloze
 
voortstuwing
 
in
 
een
 
 baan
 
om
 
de
 
aardePROEFSCHRIFT
ter
 
verkrijging
 
van
 
de
 
graad
 
van
 
doctoraan
 
de
 
Technische
 
Universiteit
 
Delftop
 
gezag
 
van
 
de
 
Rector
 
Magnificus
 
Prof.
 
ir.
 
K.Ch.A.M.
 
Luyben;voorzitter
 
van
 
het
 
College
 
voor
 
Promotiesin
 
het
 
openbaar
 
te
 
verdedigen
 
op
 
maandag
 
30
 
mei
 
2011
 
om
 
10.00
 
uurdoor
 
Michiel
 
Kruijff
Ingenieur
 
Lucht
 
en
 
Ruimtevaartgeboren
 
te
 
Den
 
Helder.
 
 
Dit
 
proefschrift
 
is
 
goedgekeurd
 
door
 
de
 
promotoren:Prof.
 
dr.
 
W.J.
 
OckelsProf.
 
dr.
 
E.K.A.
 
Gill
Samenstelling
 
 promotiecommissie:
Rector
 
Magnificus voorzitterProf.
 
dr.
 
W.J.
 
Ockels Technische
 
Universiteit
 
Delft,
 
promotorProf.
 
dr.
 
E.K.A.
 
Gill Technische
 
Universiteit
 
Delft,
 
promotorProf.
 
dr.
 
E.
 
Lorenzini Università
 
di
 
PadovaProf.
 
ir.
 
B.A.C.
 
Ambrosius Technische
 
Universiteit
 
DelftProf.
 
C.
 
Nicollier École
 
Polytechnique
 
Fédérale
 
de
 
LausanneDr.
 
P.A.
 
SwanSouthwest
 
Analytic
 
NetworkDr.
 
C.
 
Menon Simon
 
Fraser
 
UniversityProf.
 
dr.
 
ir.
 
 J.A.
 
Mulder Technische
 
Universiteit
 
Delft,
 
reservelidDelta
Utec
 
Space
 
Research
 
and
 
Consultancy
 
heeft
 
in
 
 belangrijke
 
mate
 
financiëel
 
 bijgedragenaan
 
de
 
totstandkoming
 
van
 
dit
 
proefschrift.ISBN
 
978
90
8891
282
5
Cover:
 
By
 
M.
 
Kruijff
 
&
 
Proefschriftmaken.nl.
 
The
 
YES
 
&
 
YES2
 
space
 
experiments
 
and
 
T
REX
 
tether
 
in
 
orbit.
 
YES
 
image
 
 by
 
M.
 
Kruijff,
 
YES2
 
image
 
 by
 
ESA
 
(S.
 
Corvaja),
 
T
REX
 
image
 
kindly
 
provided
 
 by
 
 JAXA.
Printed
 
by:
 
Proefschriftmaken.nl
 
||
 
Printyourthesis.com
Published
 
by:
 
Uitgeverij
 
BOXPress,
 
OisterwijkCopyright
 
©
 
2011
 
 by
 
M.
 
Kruijff.Written
 
in
 
OpenOffice.
 
Printed
 
in
 
The
 
Netherlands.
 
 
For
 
my
 
 father
 
who
 
only
 
caught
 
a
 
 glimpse
 
and
 
 Maria
 
who
 
caught
 
me

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