Motorised momentum exchange space tethers: the dynamics of asymmetrical tethers and some recent new applications

Matthew Cartmell, Olga Ganilova, Eoin Lennon, Gavin Shuttleworth

Research output: Contribution to journalConference Contribution

30 Downloads (Pure)


This paper reports on a first attempt to model the dynamics of an asymmetrical motorised momentum exchange tether for spacecraft payload propulsion, and it also provides some interesting summary results for two novel applications for motorised momentum exchange tethers. The asymmetrical tether analysis is very important because it represents the problematic scenario when payload mass unbalance intrudes, due to unexpected payload loss or failure to retrieve. Mass symmetry is highly desirable both dynamically and logistically, but it is shown in this paper that there is still realistic potential for mission rescue should an asymmetry condition arise. Conceptual designs for tethered payload release from LEO and lunar tether delivery and retrieval are also presented as options for future development.
Original languageEnglish
Article number01001
Number of pages8
JournalMATEC Web of Conferences
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2018
EventInternational Conference on Engineering Vibration - Sofia, Bulgaria
Duration: 4 Sep 20177 Sep 2017



  • asymmetrical motorised momentum
  • momentum exchange
  • space tethers

Cite this