Assessing the vulnerability to debris impacts of electrodynamic tethers during typical de-orbiting missions

C. Pardini, L. Anselmo, T. Hanada, H. Hirayama

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


De-orbiting devices based on the use of conducting tethers have been recently proposed as innovative solutions to mitigate the growth of orbital debris. Electrodynamic tether drag might actually provide a cost-effective method to rapidly and safely remove spent upper stages and defunct satellites from low Earth orbits. However, because of their small diameter, tethers of normal design may have a high probability of being severed by impacts with relatively small meteoroids and orbital debris. In order to assess the vulnerability of electrodynamic tether systems during typical de-orbiting missions, specific work has been carried out at ISTI/CNR (Pisa, Italy) and Kyushu University (Fukuoka, Japan) over the last few years, and suitable models and methods have been specifically developed for the analysis of single and double line tethers in circular orbit and aligned along the gravity gradient. The purpose of this paper is to present the two different approaches, which have been applied to realistic de-orbiting missions of spacecraft with inclinations up to about 75 deg and initial altitudes up to 1400 km.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-360
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Space Agency, (Special Publication) ESA SP
Issue number587
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005
Event4th European Conference on Space Debris - Darmstadt, Germany
Duration: Apr 18 2005Apr 20 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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