Title: Ground based testing of space tether deployment using an air bearing inclinable turntable

Authors: Udai Bindra; Zheng H. Zhu

Addresses: Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering, York University, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3, Canada ' Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering, York University, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3, Canada

Abstract: This paper discusses the development of a ground based experimental environment that can mimic the deployment dynamics of tethered satellites in orbit. The setup consists of an air-bearing inclinable turntable, whose inclination and rotation rate can be adjusted individually. Appropriate scaling factors are developed for the various forces acting on the daughter satellite as well as for physical experimental parameters including the length of the tether, the mass of the daughter satellite, the deployment speed and the tension along the tether. The scaling factors are used to compare the behaviour of the tethered system in the experiment to that in orbit.

Keywords: space tethers; air bearing tables; inclinable turntables; ground based testing; scaling factors; tether deployment; tether dynamics; tethered satellites; inclination; rotation rate.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSPACESE.2016.078571

International Journal of Space Science and Engineering, 2016 Vol.4 No.1, pp.1 - 17

Received: 06 Feb 2016
Accepted: 16 Feb 2016

Published online: 22 Aug 2016 *

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