Tethered satellites for propulsion without fuel

ESA has recently granted the Aerospace Engineering Research Group of UC3M with an Early Technology Development Project on the bare-photovoltaic tether concept. This is a disruptive device that can produce in-orbit propulsion without using propellant. The proposal was submitted by UC3M, SENER Aeroespacial, TU Dresden and The University of Padova via the OSIP channel and it was selected by ESA following the regular evaluation process. The project reinforces UC3M activities on electrodynamic tethers, which currently involve  two European Commission-funded projects (FET/OPEN “E.T.PACK” and Innovation Launchpad “BMOM”) and an Industrial PhD funded by Comunidad de Madrid. A total of 3 PhD thesis on tethers are currently under development within the PhD Programme in Aerospace Engineering. UC3M, in collaboration with the previously mentioned partners, is developing a deorbit device based on electrodynamic tether technology. The team is preparing an in-orbit demonstration by 2025.     

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