Survival probability of hollow cylindrical mesh tether under space debris impact

Kanjuro Makihara, Norihiko Matsumoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The use of a hollow cylindrical mesh for an electrodynamic tether to improve its survivability in space is proposed. The proposed tether is expected to be used in space missions to remove uncontrollable satellites in orbit. Although the mass of the hollow cylindrical tether is the same as that of a conventional solid and cylindrical (i.e., round) tether, it has a larger diameter, which improves its survivability. To investigate the damage to the proposed hollow cylindrical mesh tether by debris impact, hypervelocity-impact experiments were performed by using a two-stage light-gas gun. A high-speed camera was used to photograph the debris cloud generated by the impact of debris on the mesh tether, and the damaged area of the mesh tether after impact was compared with the expansion size of the debris cloud. Numerical simulations were conducted by using the smoothed-particle hydrodynamics method to interpolate the experimental data. The experimental and simulation results confirmed the potentially increased survivability of the proposed hollow cylindrical mesh tether compared to the conventional solid cylindrical tether.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-527
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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