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Record 6 of 2114
From the Rocket Equation to Maxwell's Equations: Electrodynamic Tether Propulsion Nears Space Test
Author and Affiliation:
Johnson, Les(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL United States)
Estes, Robert(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA United States)
Abstract: The US space program is facing a growing challenge to its decades-long, global leadership position, as current launch costs consume valuable resources and limit achievements in science, exploration, and commercial development. More than 40% of projected launches over the next 10 years have payloads with intended destinations beyond low-Earth orbit. Therefore, more cost-effective upper stages and on-board propulsion systems are critical elements in reducing total space transportation costs. A new type of space propulsion, using electrodynamic tethers, may be capable of performing multiple sequential missions without resupply and have a potential usable lifetime of several years. They may provide an in-space infrastructure that has a very low life cycle cost and greatly enhanced mission flexibility, thus supporting the goal of reducing the cost of access to space. Electrodynamic tether thrusters work by virtue of the force the Earth's magnetic field exerts on a wire carrying an electrical current. The effect is the basis for electric motors and generators. The Propulsive Small Expendable Deployer System (ProSEDS) experiment, planned for launch in the summer of 2000, will demonstrate the use electrodynamic tether thrust by lowering the altitude of a Delta-H rocket's upper stage on which it will be flying. Applications of the technology include a passive deorbit system for spacecraft at their end-of-life, reusable Orbit Transfer Vehicles, propellantless reboost of the International Space Station, and propulsion and power generation for future missions to Jupiter.
Publication Date: Jun 20, 1999
Document ID:
20000010424
(Acquired Jan 14, 2000)
Subject Category: SPACE TRANSPORTATION AND SAFETY
Document Type: Reprint
Publication Information: Spectrum
Publisher Information: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, United States
Financial Sponsor: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center; Huntsville, AL United States
Organization Source: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center; Huntsville, AL United States
Description: 14p; In English
Distribution Limits: Unclassified; Publicly available; Unlimited
Rights: No Copyright
NASA Terms: PROPULSION SYSTEM CONFIGURATIONS; SPACE TRANSPORTATION; TETHERING; ELECTRODYNAMICS; ORBIT INSERTION; SPACECRAFT MANEUVERS; ELECTROMAGNETIC PROPULSION; TETHERLINES; ELECTROMAGNETIC INTERACTIONS; COST REDUCTION
Availability Source: Other Sources
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