About Space Tethers:

What is a Space Tether?
A space tether is a long cable used to couple spacecraft to each other or to other masses, such as a spent booster rocket, space station, or an asteroid. Space tethers are usually made of thin strands of high-strength fibers or conducting wires. The tether can provide a mechanical connection between two space objects that enables the transfer of energy and momentum from one object to the other, and as a result they can be used to provide space propulsion without consuming propellant. Additionally, conductive space tethers can interact with the Earth's magnetic field and ionospheric plasma to generate thrust or drag forces without expending propellant.

Space tethers can provide revolutionary capabilities for a number of applications:


Momentum-Exchange Tethers allow momentum and energy to be transferred between objects in space, enabling a tether system to toss spacecraft from one orbit to another.


Electrodynamic Tethers interact with the Earth's magnetosphere to generate power or propulsion without consuming propellant.

SPECS Formation Formation Flying Tether Systems can enable groups of satellites to fly in tight formation for applications such as long-baseline interferometry and synthetic aperture radar HiVOLT

Electrostatic Tethers may enable remediation of the Earth's radiation belts.

Read our Scientific American Article on Space Tethers

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