ProSEDS May Tie-In to ISS Propulsion
News story originally written on January 28, 1999
NASA plans to begin development of a Propulsive Small Expendable Deployer
System, or ProSEDS. Instead of using propellant, ProSEDS will use the
Earth's magnetic field
speed up or slow down spacecraft.
The system consists of a tether which is lowered into the upper
atmosphere. The tether creates a current, which creates an electric
field. The electric field then interacts with the Earth's magnetic
field. Depending on how the tether is oriented, the magnetic field can
act as a force on the tether system to speed it up or slow it down.
ProSEDS is an example of a propellant-free system which can help save
money on the International Space Station. NASA plans on sending
propellant to the station for periodic orbital reboosts because of slight
atmospheric drag. If the tether system works, then NASA won't have to
worry about orbital reboosts; the tether will continually take care of it.
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