Tethered planetary capture maneuvers

Williams, P, Blanksby, C and Trivailo, P 2004, 'Tethered planetary capture maneuvers', Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, vol. 41, pp. 603-613.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Tethered planetary capture maneuvers
Author(s) Williams, P
Blanksby, C
Trivailo, P
Year 2004
Journal name Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Volume number 41
Start page 603
End page 613
Total pages 11
Publisher American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Abstract A new concept for the application of space tethers in planetary exploration and payload transfer is presented. We propose the deployment of a payload on a spinning tether in a hyperbolic orbit to provide it with a sufficient velocity change so that it is captured in an elliptical orbit at the destination planet. This concept of using tethers for planetary capture is investigated by conducting numerical simulations of a simplified tether system. The tether mass required to prevent rupture of the tether is optimized using numerical and iterative techniques for each of the major planets in the solar system. It is demonstrated that significant mass savings can be achieved when compared to the requirements for chemical propulsion. Finally, it is shown that controlling the tether length during the maneuver can be used to correct errors in the system trajectory for both spinning and nonspinning capture cases.
Subject Satellite, Space Vehicle and Missile Design and Testing
Keyword(s) space tethers
planetary exploration
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ISSN 0022-4650
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