The PROPEL electrodynamic tether demonstration mission

Sven G. Bilén, C. Les Johnson, Bruce M. Wiegmann, Leslie Alexander, Brian E. Gilchrist, Robert P. Hoyt, Craig H. Elder, Keith P. Fuhrhop, Michael Scadera, Nobie Stone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


The PROPEL ("Propulsion using Electrodynamics") mission will demonstrate the operation of an electrodynamic tether propulsion system in low Earth orbit and advance its technology readiness level for multiple applications. The PROPEL mission has two primary objectives: first, to demonstrate the capability of electrodynamic tether technology to provide robust and safe, near-propellantless propulsion for orbit-raising, de-orbit, plane change, and station keeping, as well as to perform orbital power harvesting and formation flight; and, second, to fully characterize and validate the performance of an integrated electrodynamic tether propulsion system, qualifying it for infusion into future multiple satellite platforms and missions with minimal modification. This paper provides an overview of the PROPEL system and design reference missions; mission goals and required measurements; and ongoing PROPEL mission design efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIAA SPACE Conference and Exposition 2012
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc.
ISBN (Print)9781600869402
StatePublished - 2012
EventAIAA SPACE Conference and Exposition 2012 - Pasadena, CA, United States
Duration: Sep 11 2012Sep 13 2012

Publication series

NameAIAA SPACE Conference and Exposition 2012


OtherAIAA SPACE Conference and Exposition 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPasadena, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering


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