Aimed at engineering students and professionals working in the field of mechanics of space flight, this book examines space tether systems – one of the most forward-thinking directions of modern astronautics. The main advantage of this technology is the simplicity, profitability and ecological compatibility: space tethers allow the execution of various manoeuvers in orbit without costs of jet fuel due to the use of gravitational and electromagnetic fields of the Earth. This book will acquaint the reader with the modern state of the space tether’s dynamics, with specific attention on the research projects of the nearest decades. This book presents the most effective mathematical models and the methods used for the analysis and prediction of space tether systems’ motion; attention is also given to the influence of the tether on spacecraft’s motion, to emergencies and chaotic modes.

Key Features

  • Written by highly qualified experts with practical experience in both the fields of mechanics of space flight, and in the teaching
  • Contains detailed descriptions of mathematical models and methods, and their features, that allow the application of the material of the book to the decision of concrete practical tasks
  • New approaches to the decision of problems of space flight mechanics are offered, and new problems are posed


Engineering students and professionals working in the field of mechanics of space flight

Table of Contents

List of figures

List of tables

About the authors


Chapter 1: Space tether systems: review of the problem


1.1 Application of space tether systems

1.2 Chronology of experiments with the use of space tethers

1.3 Materials for tether production

1.4 Study of space tether dynamics: state of the problem

Chapter 2: Mathematical models of space tether systems


2.1 Simple models of STS consisting of two point masses connected by a massless tether

2.2 Simple model of a STS consisting of two point masses connected by a heavy tether

2.3 Model of a STS with a ponderous flexible tether

2.4 Model of a STS consisting of a point mass connected by a heavy tether with a rigid body

2.5 Model of a STS consisting of two rigid bodies connected by a heavy elastic multipoint tether

Chapter 3: Motion of a spacecraft with a tethered payload


3.1 Mathematical model of a base spacecraft with a tethered payload

3.2 Analytical solution in case of a slow changing of the parameters

3.3 The approximate analytical solutions in the variables of the amplitude–phase

3.4 Analytical solutions for small oscillations

3.5 Estimation of the microaccelerations level on board the spacecraft

3.6 Motion of the spacecraft with a propulsion system

3.7 Motion of a spacecraft around its centre of mass in a circular orbit with a vertically deployed elastic tether

Chapter 4: Delivery of a payload from an orbit by means of a space tether


4.1 Tether deployment schemes

4.2 Project YES2

4.3 Modelling of the YES2 tether deployment

4.4 Abnormal situations during tether deployment

Chapter 5: Use of methods of chaotic dynamics for the analysis of tether system motion


5.1 Some elements of ch


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© 2012
Woodhead Publishing
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About the authors