Tethers take down Satellite

June 6, 2002
NASA is testing several propellant-free propulsion technologies, and one, dubbed ProSEDS, could be used soon.
Tethers take down satellites

It is based on a tether and is formally called the propulsive small expendable deployer. The tether is a 3.2-mile ultrathin bare wire attached to a 6.2-mile nonconducting cable. When it is deployed and the tether slices through the Earth's magnetic field, it will induce a current which charges the tether. This attracts more electrons, creating drag, and lowering the satellite's orbit

Plans are to test the device in space this summer. It could be used to take nonfunctioning satellites and other space debris out of orbit without using costly, chemical-based propulsion systems.

Sponsored Recommendations

Pumps Push the Boundaries of Low Temperature Technology

June 14, 2024
As an integral part of cryotechnology, KNF pumps facilitate scientific advances in cryostats, allowing them to push temperature boundaries and approach absolute zero.

The entire spectrum of drive technology

June 5, 2024
Read exciting stories about all aspects of maxon drive technology in our magazine.


May 15, 2024
Production equipment is expensive and needs to be protected against input abnormalities such as voltage, current, frequency, and phase to stay online and in operation for the ...

Solenoid Valve Mechanics: Understanding Force Balance Equations

May 13, 2024
When evaluating a solenoid valve for a particular application, it is important to ensure that the valve can both remain in state and transition between its de-energized and fully...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!