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Reactionless propulsion using tethersAn orbiting tethered satellite can propel itself by reaction against the gravitational gradient, with expenditure of energy but with no use of on-board reaction mass. Energy can be added to the orbit by pumping the tether length in the same way as pumping a swing. Examples of tether propulsion in orbit without use of reaction mass are discussed, including: (1) using tether extension to reposition a satellite in orbit without fuel expenditure by extending a mass on the end of a tether; (2) using a tether for eccentricity pumping to add energy to the orbit for boosting an orbital transfer; and (3) length modulation of a spinning tether to transfer angular momentum between the orbit and tether spin, thus allowing changes in orbital angular momentum.
Document ID
19910012850
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Landis, Geoffrey A. (NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
April 1, 1990
Publication Information
Publication: Vision-21: Space Travel for the Next Millennium
Subject Category
SPACECRAFT PROPULSION AND POWER
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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