DESCENT

DEorbiting SpaceCraft using ElectrodyNamic Tethers

Our Mission

Space Tethers have become an increasingly popular research topic in recent decades because of their numerous space applications from propellantless propulsion to energy generation. The basic principle of ElectroDynamic Tethers is to generate a current within the tether, which then interacts with the earth's magnetic field to produce a Lorentz force. This force can then be controlled (via current) to either boost or deorbit a spacecraft. The current itself can be generated by collecting electrons from the ambient plasma at the anode (the mother satellite orbiting at a higher altitude) of the tether and emitting them back into the plasma at the cathode (the daughter satellite orbiting at a lower altitude) forming a closed loop. DESCENT (DEorbiting SpaceCraft using ElectrodyNamic Tethers) is a 2U CubeSat that aims to verify the ability of a 100m long bare conducting tape tether to generate current and determine its effectiveness to be used as a deorbiting device.

Objectives

The primary objectives of the mission include performing a smooth deployment of a 100m long tape EDT and demonstrating the ability of the EDT to collect electrons from ambient plasma. The mission will also demonstrate the ability of a Spindt Array to deorbit spacecraft in Low Earth Orbit.

Project Lead

Collaborators

Sponsor