Deployment requirements for deorbiting electrodynamic tether technology

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In the last decades, green deorbiting technologies have begun to be investigated and have raised a great interest in the space community. Among the others, electrodynamic tethers appear to be a promising option. By interacting with the surrounding ionosphere, electrodynamic tethers generate a drag Lorentz force to decrease the orbit altitude of the satellite, causing its re-entry in the atmosphere without using propellant. In this work, the requirements that drive the design of the deployment mechanism proposed for the H2020 Project E.T.PACK—Electrodynamic Tether Technology for Passive Consumable-less Deorbit Kit—are presented and discussed. Additionally, this work presents the synthesis of the reference profiles used by the motor of the deployer to make the tethered system reach the desired final conditions. The result is a strategy for deploying electrodynamic tape-shaped tethers used for deorbiting satellites at the end of their operational life.
Active debris removal, Deployment dynamics, Deployment requirements, Electrodynamic tethers
Bibliographic citation
Sarego, G., Olivieri, L., Valmorbida, A., Brunello, A., Lorenzini, E. C., Tarabini Castellani, L., Urgoiti, E., Ortega, A., Borderes-Motta, G., & Sánchez-Arriaga, G. (2021). Deployment requirements for deorbiting electrodynamic tether technology. CEAS Space Journal, 13(4), 567–581.