Design of tether sling for human transportation systems between Earth and Mars

Jokic, Michael D. and Longuski, James M. (2004) Design of tether sling for human transportation systems between Earth and Mars. Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, 41 (6). 1010-1015 . ISSN 0022-4650

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Human transportation systems between Earth and Mars might benefit greatly from the construction of a tether sling facility on Phobos. A tether sling has the potential to launch vehicles from Phobos to Earth with little or no
propellant expended because it is solar powered. For current trajectory designs and tether materials, we show that a tether sling facility is superior to chemical propulsion systems when multiple launches from Phobos are considered.

A performance index of the ratio of tether mass to chemical-propellant mass is used to compare various mission
scenarios. Ratios less than 10 are considered desirable. The most advantageous application of the tether sling occurs during a Hohmann transfer from Phobos to Earth where the mass ratio is 1.8. Next are semicyclers (ratios of 1.9 and 2.4) and a three-synodic-period cycler (8.7). Unfortunately, the Aldrin cycler does not benefit from the tether sling because the high hyperbolic velocity at Mars drives the mass ratio to infinity. For cases with desirable mass ratios, we also account for fluctuations in the cross section of the tether as a result of manufacturing uncertainties

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: The copyright law effective January 1, 1978, gives the copyright of a work to the person who wrote it. AIAA prefers to hold the copyright of any work it publishes, with the clear understanding that the author and the author’s organization have the right to reproduce it in print form (nonelectronic) for their own purposes, provided that the reproductions are not for sale
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering
Date Deposited: 19 May 2010 04:03
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 23:54
Uncontrolled Keywords: Hohmann transfer; semicyclers; three-synodic-period cycler; Aldrin cycler; propulsion systems
Fields of Research : 09 Engineering > 0901 Aerospace Engineering > 090106 Flight Dynamics
02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020108 Planetary Science (excl. Extraterrestrial Geology)
09 Engineering > 0901 Aerospace Engineering > 090107 Hypersonic Propulsion and Hypersonic Aerodynamics
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 88 Transport > 8803 Aerospace Transport > 880305 Space Transport
Identification Number or DOI: 10.2514/1.2413

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