Current in-space propulsion technologies, such as chemical and electrical thrusters, work under the law of action-reaction. Consequently, the payload mass and mission lifetime are penalized by the need of propellant. E.T.PACK envisages a new era enabled by a free-of-propellant device named Low Work function Tether (LWT) that operates under different principles. Instead of carrying propellant, LWTs produce a propulsive force by taking advantage of the natural space environment, which includes the geomagnetic field, the ambient plasma and the solar radiation.
The potential impact for society is supported by a fundamental characteristic of LWTs: they are reversible devices that convert orbital into electrical energy and vice versa without using any consumable. Such a property is key for several space applications. For instance, a LWT in generator mode can be used for deorbiting spacecraft at the end of life, thus contributing to solve the space debris problem that is one of the most important space challenges of the next decades.
Over the past weeks, various interviews with E.T.Pack Project Coordinator Gonzalo Sánchez Arriaga and articles in spanish news media (El Pais, La Sexta, Cadena Cope and Cadena SER) were published, explaining the goals of E.T.Pack project and highlighting its contribution to remove space debris.
Find a list of the publications at E.T Pack Webpage.