Electrical model and optimal design scheme for low work-function tethers in thrust mode

Sánchez Arriaga, Gonzalo and Sanmartín Losada, Juan Ramón (2020). Electrical model and optimal design scheme for low work-function tethers in thrust mode. "Aerospace Science and Technology", v. 96 ; p. 105519. ISSN 1270-9638. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ast.2019.105519.

Description

Title: Electrical model and optimal design scheme for low work-function tethers in thrust mode
Author/s:
  • Sánchez Arriaga, Gonzalo
  • Sanmartín Losada, Juan Ramón
Item Type: Article
Título de Revista/Publicación: Aerospace Science and Technology
Date: January 2020
ISSN: 1270-9638
Volume: 96
Subjects:
Faculty: E.T.S. de Ingeniería Aeronáutica y del Espacio (UPM)
Department: Física Aplicada a las Ingenierías Aeronáutica y Naval
Creative Commons Licenses: Recognition - No derivative works - Non commercial

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Abstract

A low work-function tether (LWT), a subclass of bare electrodynamic tether made of a conductor partially coated with a low work function material, can exchange momentum and energy with planetary magnetospheres without any consumable. If fed by an onboard power source to reverse the natural direction of the current given by the motional electric field, a LWT can produce an useful thrust in drag compensation and re-boost scenarios. In the considered scheme, the LWT has an anodic bare segment for passive electron collection, followed by an insulated segment, a power source, and a cathodic segment that emits electrons passively through thermionic and photoelectric effects. Current and voltage profiles along the LWT are obtained and used to compute the system efficiency, i.e. the electrical power to mechanical power conversion rate, and the minimum electrical power to avoid space-charge effects in the cathodic segment. The design conditions to reach a high-efficiency regime are presented. For a given orbit and required thrust, optimal values for the tether geometry, including the fractional lengths of all three tether segments, are found. The results are applied to the preliminary design of a LWT system that would compensate the aerodynamic drag on the International Space Station. The analysis shows that the mission can be performed by a LWT fed with a power source of 4.7 kW, length, width and thickness equal to 5.1 km, 2 cm and 30μm, work function 1.5 eV, and temperature 600 K.

Funding Projects

TypeCodeAcronymLeaderTitle
Government of SpainESP-2017-82092-ERCUnspecifiedUnspecifiedFabricación y ensayos de amarras espaciales con baja función de trabajo
Horizon 2020828902E.T. PACKUnspecifiedElectrodynamic theter technology for passive consumable less deorbit kitt

More information

Item ID: 58062
DC Identifier: http://oa.upm.es/58062/
OAI Identifier: oai:oa.upm.es:58062
DOI: 10.1016/j.ast.2019.105519
Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1270963819304225#gsp0040
Deposited by: Biblioteca ETSI Aeronauticos
Deposited on: 17 Feb 2020 12:09
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2020 12:09
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