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

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3 Author(s)
Williams, J.D. ; Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO, USA ; Sanmartin, J.R. ; Rand, L.P.

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:

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

Date of Publication:

May 2012

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