An improved method of gravicraft propulsion.

Gratus, Jonathan and Tucker, Robin (2003) An improved method of gravicraft propulsion. Acta Astronautica, 53 (3). pp. 161-172. ISSN 0094-5765

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There is an interaction between gravitational tidal forces and the instantaneous moment of inertia of any massive extended body. A mechanism that changes the altitude of a spacecraft orbiting a central mass by periodically changing its instantaneous moment of inertia tensor is discussed. This can be achieved most simply by connecting two bodies with a tether of adjustable length and does not rely on any chemical propellant. By using a series of reasonable approximations, a formula for the rate of change of height is given in terms of accessible data. This formula predicts that by suitably varying the length of a 50 km connecting tether a connected system can rise at about 300 m an hour in low earth orbit.

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Journal Article
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Acta Astronautica
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17 Jul 2008 14:17
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21 Nov 2022 17:58