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Unique Results and Lessons Learned From the TSS MissionsThe Tethered Satellite System (TSS) Space Shuttle missions, TSS-1 in 1993 and TSS-1R in 1996, were the height of space tether technology development in the U.S. Altogether, the investment made by NASA and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) over the thirteen-year period of the TSS Program totaled approximately $400M-exclusive of the two Space Shuttle flights provided by NASA. Since those two pioneering missions, there have been several smaller tether flight experiments, but interest in this promising technology has waned within NASA as well as the DOD agencies. This is curious in view of the unique capabilities of space tether systems and the fact that they have been flight validated in earth orbit and shown to perform better than the preflight dynamic or electrodynamic theoretical predictions. While it is true that the TSS-1 and TSS-1R missions experienced technical difficulties, the causes of these early developmental problems are now known to have been engineering design flaws, material selection, and procedural issues that (1) are unrelated to the basic viability of space tether technology, and (2) can be readily corrected. The purpose of this paper is to review the dynamic and electrodynamic fundamentals of space tethers and the unique capabilities they afford (that are enabling to certain types of space missions); to elucidate the nature, cause, and solution of the early developmental problems; and to provide an update on progress made in development of the technology.
Document ID
20160007056
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Stone, Nobie H. (NeXolve, Inc. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
June 6, 2016
Publication Date
May 24, 2016
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing and Performance
Report/Patent Number
M16-5298
Meeting Information
International Conference on Tethers in Space(Ann Arbor, MI)
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: NNM14AF52P
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Public Use Permitted.

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