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

Article


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), pp. 1010-1015 . https://doi.org/10.2514/1.2413
Article Title

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

ERA Journal ID3580
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsJokic, Michael D. (Author) and Longuski, James M. (Author)
Journal TitleJournal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Journal Citation41 (6), pp. 1010-1015
Number of Pages6
Year2004
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Place of PublicationReston, VA, United States
ISSN0022-4650
1533-6794
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.2514/1.2413
Abstract

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

KeywordsHohmann transfer; semicyclers; three-synodic-period cycler; Aldrin cycler; propulsion systems
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020400105. Flight dynamics
519999. Other physical sciences not elsewhere classified
400106. Hypersonic propulsion and hypersonic aerothermodynamics
Public Notes

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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Queensland
Purdue University, United States
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