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Clumping Satelites together...

Posted by: Sean Girling - Tue Apr 25, 2006 12:39 pm
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Clumping Satelites together... 
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Post ion drive... efficient, but a safety issue?   Posted on: Wed May 31, 2006 3:53 pm
I've got mixed feelings on Ion propulsion for satellites.

On one hand, they're a lot more efficient than conventional thrusters.

On the other hand, their lowsy for maneuvering out of the way in a hurry. New generations of GEO satellites using XIPS drives create problems for collision avoidance. While these satellites tend to stay closer to the middle of their assigned orbital slot, they also require more lead time to predict conujunction distances for collission avoidance maneuvers, if necessary.

Given the underfunding of space surveillance in recent years, this will become more and more of a problem. I don't think the funding issue will be resolved until there is a collision.

- Alistair

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Post    Posted on: Wed May 31, 2006 3:57 pm
I've thought about a similar idea. Being in the ribbon-in-space industry, I've wondered about dangling satellite platforms from a ribbon with a counterweight beyond GEO. That would provide geostationary positioning with a MEO or even LEO altitude. The platform could provide a power and control interface/API.

The microsats would be lifted via the LiftPort Space Elevator to GEO, rocket to then dock with their intended platform ribbon, and get carried down to the platform and attached.

I think this is definately something that someone like Tethers Unlimited should look into as it fits fairly closely with their design specs.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 01, 2006 8:25 am
Would that work? I'd think that the drag would lift the sat to a higher orbit and drop the counterweight lower. Wouldn't they just both end up in the same orbit, not neccesarily Geo.? If the tether were a fixed unbendable pole, then I'm sure it could be done, but even then I'd be sure you'd need a control nozzle to stop it rotating out of verticle.

Perhaps, I'm just not thinking about this straight. Ah, Unless you're talking about using a ground attached space tether with a device platform attached at an alternative altitude.

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