Green in-space trasportation with tether technology
Enrico Lorenzini (University of Padova) and Gonzalo Sanchez-Arriaga (UC3M)
The research project is centered in demonstrating different configurations of Tether Systems to overcome the limitations of rocket propulsions, enable new classes of missions currently unaffordable or infeasible, and significantly advance the tether technology towards an operational level, focusing on establishing a deeper understanding of critical processes and technologies to be able to improve Tether Systems in the future. The goal is demonstrating the capability of the tether technology to provide robust, safe, propellant-less propulsion both as de-orbiting and orbit-raising device and fully characterize the performance of an integrated tether propulsion system, for use on-board future satellites with small modifications. The benefits in using Tether Systems are manifold. The value of a Tether System lies in the fact that it can develop “green energies” in total autonomy by exploiting physical principles: angular moment conservation, pairing between energy generation and thrust or vice versa between decrease in orbital energy and electrodynamic drag. A few examples are: (a) by releasing satellites from the International Space Station with passive systems without propellant and without discharge, the external contamination around the station is greatly reduced; (b) equipping satellites with an electrodynamic tether ensures independence from the storage and use of propellant in orbit. In this way the topics of deorbiting, re-entry and reboost and, in general, passive propulsion can be addressed by a technology that is increasingly efficient, as the time in orbit increases, when compared to chemical systems.
E.T.PACK – Electrodynamic Tether Technology for Passive Consumable-less Deorbit Kit
H2020 FET Open. Grant number: 828902