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Orbital Momentum as Commodity

28 May 2015, 19:55 UTC
Orbital Momentum as Commodity
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To The Moon, AliceA tether needs to be substantially more massive than it's payloads. Else a catch/throw would wreck the tether orbit.In my last post I described how near earth asteroids parked in retrograde lunar orbits might be used as anchors and momentum banks for lunar orbital tethers.What could we use to anchor a vertical tether in earth orbit?When a satellite in geosynchronous orbit satellite dies, it's sent to a graveyard orbit about 300 km above geosynch. According to IO9 there are more than a hundred sats in this graveyard. There will be more as time goes on.Boost one of these dead sats 25 km higher than the graveyard orbit and dangle a 25 km tether. The tether foot will be moving about 10 kilometers/hour or about 5.5 mph with regard to the sat graveyard. As satellites are caught, momentum can be added via ion engines. With an ion engine's high ISP, the satellite collector's reaction mass can be small with regard to the mass of the satellites collected.There's little plane change delta V since most the GEO sats are equatorial.This would cleanse the geosynch neighborhood of orbital debris. When the dead sats are collected into a single mass, cross ...

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