Practical guidelines for electro-dynamic tethers to survive from orbital debris impacts

I. Kim, Hiroshi Hirayama, Toshiya Hanada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has proposed an active debris removal using electro-dynamic tether to reduce large space debris in the low-Earth orbit. However, a tether strand is thin but long enough to have a large area so that it is vulnerable to small particles. This vulnerability might be the weakest point of a tether system against orbital debris. In order to overcome this weakest point, a double tether system, in which two tether strands are tied together at even intervals to form equally spaced loops, has been suggested as one of the promising candidates. This paper provides a mathematical approach to estimate the survival probability of a double tether system and then apply the approach to evaluate the mission success rate of the active debris removal using electro-dynamic tether that JAXA has proposed. It can be concluded the countermeasure to get enough success rate can be obtained. The result is simulated for Advanced Earth Observing Satellite II (ADEOS-II) re-entry from 800 km sun synchronized orbit to atmosphere. The simulation shows that mission success rate over 90% can be obtained with number of loops over 1000 and 10 mm clearance between two strands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1292-1300
Number of pages9
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - May 17 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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