Benefits and risks of using electrodynamic tethers to de-orbit spacecraft

Carmen Pardini, Toshiya Hanada, Paula H. Krisko

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

By using electrodynamic drag to greatly increase the orbital decay rate, an electrodynamic space tether can remove spent or dysfunctional spacecraft from low Earth orbit rapidly and safely. Moreover, the low mass requirements of such tether devices make them highly advantageous compared to conventional rocket-based de-orbit systems. However, a tether system is much more vulnerable to space debris impacts than a typical spacecraft and its design must prove to be safe to a certain confidence level before being adopted for potential applications. To assess the space debris related concerns, a new task (Action Item 19.1) on the "Potential Benefits and Risks of Using Electrodynamic Tethers for End-of-life De-orbit of LEO Spacecraft" was defined by the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC), in March 2001. Two tests were proposed to compute the fatal impact rate of meteoroids and orbital debris on space tethers in circular orbits, at different altitudes and inclinations, as a function of the tether diameter, and to assess the survival probability of an electrodynamic tether system during typical deorbiting missions. IADC members of three agencies, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), participated in the study and different computational approaches were specifically developed in the framework of this IADC task. This paper summarizes the content of the IADC AI 19.1 Final Report. In particular, it introduces the potential benefits and risks of using tethers in space, it describes the assumptions made in the study plan, it compares and discusses the results obtained by ASI, JAXA and NASA for the two tests proposed. Some general conclusions and recommendations are eventually highlighted as a result of a massive and intensive study.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIAA 57th International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2006
Pages3815-3830
Number of pages16
Volume6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2006
EventAIAA 57th International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2006 - Valencia, Spain
Duration: Oct 2 2006Oct 6 2006

Other

OtherAIAA 57th International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2006
CountrySpain
CityValencia
Period10/2/0610/6/06

Fingerprint

Tetherlines
spacecraft orbits
Space debris
space debris
electrodynamics
Electrodynamics
Spacecraft
Orbits
spacecraft
Space tethers
low Earth orbits
aeronautics
NASA
Japan
spacecraft design
orbits
orbitals
meteoroids
circular orbits
Rockets

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Aerospace Engineering

Cite this

Pardini, C., Hanada, T., & Krisko, P. H. (2006). Benefits and risks of using electrodynamic tethers to de-orbit spacecraft. In AIAA 57th International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2006 (Vol. 6, pp. 3815-3830)

Benefits and risks of using electrodynamic tethers to de-orbit spacecraft. / Pardini, Carmen; Hanada, Toshiya; Krisko, Paula H.

AIAA 57th International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2006. Vol. 6 2006. p. 3815-3830.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Pardini, C, Hanada, T & Krisko, PH 2006, Benefits and risks of using electrodynamic tethers to de-orbit spacecraft. in AIAA 57th International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2006. vol. 6, pp. 3815-3830, AIAA 57th International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2006, Valencia, Spain, 10/2/06.
Pardini C, Hanada T, Krisko PH. Benefits and risks of using electrodynamic tethers to de-orbit spacecraft. In AIAA 57th International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2006. Vol. 6. 2006. p. 3815-3830
Pardini, Carmen ; Hanada, Toshiya ; Krisko, Paula H. / Benefits and risks of using electrodynamic tethers to de-orbit spacecraft. AIAA 57th International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2006. Vol. 6 2006. pp. 3815-3830
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