Space tether

(Last edited: Monday, 2 October 2023, 6:11 PM)
Source: proposed catch and release cycle of a spinning space tether

Source: proposed catch and release cycle of a spinning space tether

Short Definition:

Space tethers are long cables attached to a counterweight. It has many applications in space such as propulsion and momentum exchange etc. This idea could help lowering the amount of money needed to transport payload into low earth orbit by hooking onto specialized spacecrafts in the future and either increasing the speed for space travel or decrease it to prepare for landing.

Detailed Definition:

Despite recent achievements in making spacecrafts fully reusable, space travel and space infrastructure continues to be quite expensive and only reserved for a few institutions and companies. The aim is to commercialize space, but to achieve that goal we still need to vastly decrease the amount of money to get payload into low earth orbit. Skyhooks, a special type of space tethers, could help lowering the cost of transportation into space. The idea is to attach cable hundreds or thousands of kilometres to a counterweight and the weight spins in a circle. The tether will be lowered to be 80-150 kilometres above the earth, where it can hook onto spacecrafts and let them go at the best point to maximize speed adjustment. This idea could make reusable rockets much lighter and cheaper by lowering the amount of rocket fuel needed.

This idea acts as a “orbital battery”, where decreasing the spacecrafts speed will increase the amount of energy in the tether and increasing the spacecrafts speed will decrease the amount of energy in the tether.


Space from Latinspatium

Tether from proto-Germanic teudrą(“rope;cord;shaft”)

Sample Sentence(s):

Space tethers could revolutionize the space industry by lowering the money needed to get payload into low earth orbit.

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Links to Videos/Articles:

» Dictionary of Space Concepts