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Bare Conductive Tether for Decelerating a SpacecraftA document describes a prototype of electrically conductive tethers to be used primarily to decelerate spacecraft and/or generate electric power for the spacecraft. Like prior such tethers, this tether is designed so that when it is deployed from a spacecraft in orbit, its motion across the terrestrial magnetic field induces an electric current. The Lorentz force on the current decelerates the spacecraft. Optionally, the current can be exploited to convert some orbital kinetic energy to electric energy for spacecraft systems. Whereas the conductive portions of prior such tethers are covered with electrical insulation except for end electrodes that make contact with the ionosphere, this tether includes a conductive portion that is insulated along part of its length but deliberately left bare along a substantial remaining portion of its length to make contact with the ionosphere. The conductive portions of the tether are made of coated thin aluminum wires wrapped around strong, lightweight aromatic polyamide braids. The main advantages of the present partly-bare-tether design over the prior all-insulated-tether design include greater resistance to degradation by the impact of monatomic oxygen at orbital altitude and speed and greater efficiency in collecting electrons from the ionosphere.
Document ID
20090040785
Acquisition Source
Marshall Space Flight Center
Document Type
Other - NASA Tech Brief
Authors
Johnson, Les
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Vaughn, Jason
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Welzyn, Ken
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Ballance, Judy
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Carroll, Joe
(Tether Applications United States)
Lorenzini, Enrico
(Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Cambridge, MA, United States)
Estes, bob
(Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Cambridge, MA, United States)
Schuler, Pete
(Triton Systems, Inc. MA, United States)
Mojazza, hamid
(Triton Systems, Inc. MA, United States)
Lennhoff, John
(Triton Systems, Inc. MA, United States)
FROM
(Computer Sciences Corp. United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 2007
Publication Information
Publication: NASA Tech Briefs, February 2007
Subject Category
Technology Utilization And Surface Transportation
Report/Patent Number
MFS-31490-1
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Public Use Permitted.
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