Energy harvesting on spacecraft using electrodynamic tethers

J. K. McTernan, Sven G. Bilen, I. C. Bell, B. E. Gilchrist, R. P. Hoyt, N. R. Voronka

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

An electrodynamic tether can be used by satellites to harvest energy from orbital potential by using the Lorentz force interactions with the geomagnetic field. The amount of energy that can be harvested depends on the length of the tether, the type of tether, and the configuration of the plasma contactors. Satellite size sets the bounds for the configuration of the EDT system and, therefore, the magnitude of the energy budget. Large satellites have the potential to harvest as much as kilowatts at the load. Small EDT systems the size of CubeSats have the potential to produce more energy than mounted solar panels alone. EDT systems benefit very small, ChipSat-sized satellites by enabling them to maintain orbit without a significant contribution to the satellites' size and mass or the need for expendable propellant. EDTs provide a unique solution to satellites' energy and propulsion needs throughout the size and mass spectrum of current and future technology. An EDT structure utilizes the resources available in orbit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationICCM 2011 - The 18th International Conference on Composites Materials
StatePublished - 2011
Event18th International Conference on Composites Materials, ICCM 2011 - Jeju, Korea, Republic of
Duration: Aug 21 2011Aug 26 2011

Other

Other18th International Conference on Composites Materials, ICCM 2011
CountryKorea, Republic of
CityJeju
Period8/21/118/26/11

Fingerprint

Tetherlines
Energy harvesting
Electrodynamics
Spacecraft
Satellites
Orbits
Lorentz force
Propellants
Propulsion
Plasmas

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)
  • Ceramics and Composites

Cite this

McTernan, J. K., Bilen, S. G., Bell, I. C., Gilchrist, B. E., Hoyt, R. P., & Voronka, N. R. (2011). Energy harvesting on spacecraft using electrodynamic tethers. In ICCM 2011 - The 18th International Conference on Composites Materials
McTernan, J. K. ; Bilen, Sven G. ; Bell, I. C. ; Gilchrist, B. E. ; Hoyt, R. P. ; Voronka, N. R. / Energy harvesting on spacecraft using electrodynamic tethers. ICCM 2011 - The 18th International Conference on Composites Materials. 2011.
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McTernan, JK, Bilen, SG, Bell, IC, Gilchrist, BE, Hoyt, RP & Voronka, NR 2011, Energy harvesting on spacecraft using electrodynamic tethers. in ICCM 2011 - The 18th International Conference on Composites Materials. 18th International Conference on Composites Materials, ICCM 2011, Jeju, Korea, Republic of, 8/21/11.

Energy harvesting on spacecraft using electrodynamic tethers. / McTernan, J. K.; Bilen, Sven G.; Bell, I. C.; Gilchrist, B. E.; Hoyt, R. P.; Voronka, N. R.

ICCM 2011 - The 18th International Conference on Composites Materials. 2011.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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AU - McTernan, J. K.

AU - Bilen, Sven G.

AU - Bell, I. C.

AU - Gilchrist, B. E.

AU - Hoyt, R. P.

AU - Voronka, N. R.

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AB - An electrodynamic tether can be used by satellites to harvest energy from orbital potential by using the Lorentz force interactions with the geomagnetic field. The amount of energy that can be harvested depends on the length of the tether, the type of tether, and the configuration of the plasma contactors. Satellite size sets the bounds for the configuration of the EDT system and, therefore, the magnitude of the energy budget. Large satellites have the potential to harvest as much as kilowatts at the load. Small EDT systems the size of CubeSats have the potential to produce more energy than mounted solar panels alone. EDT systems benefit very small, ChipSat-sized satellites by enabling them to maintain orbit without a significant contribution to the satellites' size and mass or the need for expendable propellant. EDTs provide a unique solution to satellites' energy and propulsion needs throughout the size and mass spectrum of current and future technology. An EDT structure utilizes the resources available in orbit.

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M3 - Conference contribution

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McTernan JK, Bilen SG, Bell IC, Gilchrist BE, Hoyt RP, Voronka NR. Energy harvesting on spacecraft using electrodynamic tethers. In ICCM 2011 - The 18th International Conference on Composites Materials. 2011