Sanmartín Losada, Juan Ramón and Charro, Mario and Lorenzini, Enrico C. and Colombatti, Giacomo and Roussel, Jean-François and Serrath, Pierre and Williams, John D. and Xie, Kan and García de Quirós, Francisco and Carrasco, José A. and Rosta, Roland and Zoest, Tim van and Lasa, Joseba and Marcos, Jesús
BETs: Propellant less de orbiting of space debris by bare electrodynamic tethers.
"Let's embrace space".
Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, pp. 506-513.
As a fundamental contribution to limiting the increase of debris in the Space environment, a three-year project
started on 1 November 2010 financed by the European Commission under the FP-7 Space Programme. It aims at developing a universal system to be carried on board future satellites launched into low Earth orbit (LEO), to allow de-orbiting at end of life. The operational system involves a conductive tape-tether left bare of insulation to establish anodic contact with the ambient plasma as a giant Langmuir probe. The project will size the three disparate
dimensions of a tape for a selected de-orbit mission and determine scaling laws to allow system design for a general
mission. It will implement control laws to restrain tether dynamics in/off the orbital plane; and will carry out
plasma chamber measurements and numerical simulations of tether-plasma interaction. The project also involves
the design and manufacturing of subsystems: electron-ejecting plasma contactors, an electric control and power
module, interface elements, tether and deployment mechanisms, tether tape/end-mass as well as current collection plus free-fall, and hypervelocity impact tests.