BBC News | Scottish lace in space race

Ed Cannon (ecannon@mail.utexas.edu)
Fri, 15 Jan 1999 22:55:40 -0600

Here are some quotes from a BBC story regarding a proposed 
method for de-orbiting satellites -- tethers!  

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_256000/256115.stm
 
> Friday, January 15, 1999 Published at 18:42 GMT    
>
> Sci/Tech
>
> Scottish lace in space race 
>
> [Image: Satellites which remain in space pose a hazard to 
> future launches.]
>
> Wire ropes designed to drag inactive satellites out of 
> orbit are being knitted by Fleming Textiles, a former 
> lace-making company in Kilmarnock, Scotland, which now 
> specialises in industrial fabrics.  
> ... 
>
> [Image: The speed of the satellite is sapped by the tether.] 
> ... 
>
> If the order is to abort, then a spring pushes a weight out 
> of the craft and this drags a five kilometre wire rope 
> downwards.  
>                                                      
> The motion of the satellite drags the metal tether through 
> the Earth's magnetic field, generating an electric current 
> .... This heats the wire and the energy is then lost to 
> space. By taking energy from the satellite, the tether 
> causes it to drop out of orbit.   
> ... 

That might make for some added observing interest!

Ed C. - ecannon@mail.utexas.edu - Austin, Texas, USA