ProSEDS May Tie-In to ISS Propulsion
News story originally written on January 28, 1999
NASA announced that it will begin development of the Propulsive Small
Expendable Deployer System, or ProSEDS. ProSEDS will use the Earth's magnetic field
to act as a
force on a spacecraft, either speeding it up or slowing it down.
The system consists of a tether which is lowered into the upper
atmosphere. The tether induces a current, which creates an electric
field. If the electric field is oriented properly, it will interact with
the Earth's magnetic field and act as a force on the system.
"This will be a demonstration of a propellant-free propulsion system,"
said Les Johnson of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.
ProSEDS will be used as an example of a possible system for use on the
International Space Station. The ISS will need periodic orbital reboosts
because of slight atmospheric drag. If the tether system works, NASA
won't have to worry about the expensive task of bring propellants from
Earth to the station.
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