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Low Work-Function Coating for an Entirely Propellantless Bare Electrodynamic Tether

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3 Author(s)
John D. Williams ; Colorado State University, Fort Collins, USA ; Juan R. Sanmartin ; Lauren P. Rand

We present the possibility of a low work-function material, calcium aluminate electride, being used for a coating on a bare electrodynamic tether system. Analyses suggest that the coating would eliminate the need for an active cathodic device like a hollow cathode and, consequently, eliminate the need for an expellant to the hollow cathode, thus resulting in an electrodynamic tether system that requires no consumables. Applications include on-orbit power generation and deorbiting debris from low Earth orbit in a simple and trouble-free manner.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science  (Volume:40 ,  Issue: 5 )