American Society of Civil Engineers

To Outer Space on a Tether

by Li Liu, (Ph.D. Candidate, Comp. Inst., Peking Univ., Beijing 100871, People’s Republic of China)

Journal of Aerospace Engineering, Vol. 8, No. 2, April 1995, pp. 126-128, (doi:

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Document type: Technical Note
Abstract: The apogee of the moon is 405,500 km and the perigee is 363,300 km. If there is a tethered satellite launched from SINUS MEDII on the moon in the direction of the earth, and the length of the tether is 355,154 km, then the apogee of the tethered satellite is 42,200 km and the perigee is 30 km from the ground. Because the altitude of the tethered satellite at perigee can be reached by aircraft, an aircraft can fly to the tethered satellite and dock with it. Half a month later, the aircraft will be at an altitude of 42,200 km—the aircraft is in outer space. Another half a month later, the aircraft will go back to an altitude of 30 km and separate from the tethered satellite and land. Therefore, man can go to outer space on a tether. This technical note discusses the tether and the movement of the tethered satellite.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Spacecraft launching and landing