Conceptual Design and Analysis of Space Tether Transportation System With Electrodynamic Propulsion

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Abstract. Tether transportation system can form the infrastructure for a reusable low cost space transportation architecture and can be used to carry frequent traffic between orbits. The Tether transportation facility would be sized for launch on a single large rocket vehicle to its operational orbit. This system will utilize electrodynamic tether propulsion to restore its orbit after each payload boost operation. Several technical challenges must be resolved to enable this systems to be fielded, including development of rapid rendezvous and capture capabilities and techniques for building and controlling the tether facilities. This research is applied modeling of tether dynamics, orbital mechanics, electrodynamics, and other relevant physics, to verify the orbital design of the system and investigate methods for performing electrodynamic re-boost of the platform. Using comparison for differing payload capacities of each vehicle and the dependence of launch pricing upon business factors, these research indicates that a reusable tether boost facility could enable commercial customers to reduce their launch costs by reduction of recurring costs.


Tether, Conceptual design, Electrodynamic propulsion, Transportation system

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