Accession Number:

ADA179205

Title:

Optimal Shuttle Altitude Changes Using Tethers.

Descriptive Note:

Master's thesis,

Corporate Author:

AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1986-12-01

Pagination or Media Count:

64.0

Abstract:

The possible use of tethers in space has been proposed for the last hundred years. While much work has been done recently on the use of tethers for towed satellites from the Space Shuttle, little has been done to determine the possible benefits of using tethers as propulsive devices to supplement or replace rocket engines for boost from Low Earth Orbit. This project attempts to determine one method of using tethers to improve the performance of the Space Shuttle. Orbit insertion parameters such as velocity and final altitude for the space shuttle are limited by operational constraints on the possible delta V that can be supplied from the engines. The possibility of increasing the performance of the shuttle exits by use of an inter-connecting tether to serve as a momentum transfer device between the External Tank and the Shuttle. This added momentum would widen the possible orbit options presently available by boosting the shuttle to a higher orbit. This project derives the equations of motion for a three-body connected dynamical system to include the Shuttle, the external tank, and the cable in orbit around a spherical Earth. Due to current material limitations the tether length will be limited to 100 kilometers. The possible envelope of orbital changes is investigated, and this program determines through an optimization routine the tension profile in the cable, and the initial separation distance to apply that tension that results in the maximum altitude gain for the shuttle. Theses.

Subject Categories:

  • Astronautics
  • Spacecraft Trajectories and Reentry

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE