On the performance prediction and scale modelling of a motorised momentum exchange propulsion tether

Cartmell, M.P., Ziegler, S.W. and Neill, D.S. (2003) On the performance prediction and scale modelling of a motorised momentum exchange propulsion tether. In: 20th Symposium Space nuclear power and propulsion; Space technology and applications international forum 2003, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2-5 February 2003, pp. 571-579.

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This paper discusses a programme of research based on the incremental invention of the so-called Motorised Momentum Exchange Tether (MMET) for space vehicle propulsion, and summarises aspects of the predicted performance of hanging, librating, and spinning symmetrical momentum exchange tethers in a circular orbit around the Earth. A preliminary case for double-payloaded, symmetrical tethers is also made. This shows that the MMET concept has certain predicted performance advantages over a passive momentum exchange tether. From that stand-point an ESA funded programme of terrestrial scale-model experimentation is discussed. This programme was intended to prove certain practicalities of the motorised concept within a suitably scaled model. To that end a dynamic scaling methodology based on aspects of the Buckingham Pi-theorem was evolved and appropriate dynamic scaling criteria were obtained for both rigid body spin-up and flexural vibrations within the system. The paper outlines the practical design of the scale model which resulted from this work, the running of a set of two-dimensional experimental tests on a large expanse of ice, and the resulting interpretation of results of the tests. The discussion concludes with an overview of new work on initial proposals for de-spin of the payloads after release, and issues relating to post-release de-spin of the centralised motor drive facility.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cartmell, Prof Matthew
Authors: Cartmell, M.P., Ziegler, S.W., and Neill, D.S.
Subjects:T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy

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