Estimating radiated power from a conducting tethered satellite system

D. J. Donohue, Torsten Neubert, P. M. Banks

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In anticipation of the upcoming TSS-1 experiment, theoretical calculations are made of radiated power from a conducting tethered satellite system. The radiation results from the steady motion of the system through the ionospheric plasma and it is stimulated by collection and emission of charge by the noninsulated surfaces of the tethered end connectors. A model of the current system is developed which incorporates the tether wire, satellite surfaces, and sheath currents. The radiation impedance of the current model is calculated using the previously developed theory of Barnett and Olbert (1986). The results confirm the low-frequency Alfven wave description with a predicted radiation impedance of a few tenths of an ohm in the Alfven wave limit. Calculations are also made in the lower hybrid and whistler wave band. A larger impedance of approximately 13-OMEGA is found for the frequency range approximately 5-50 kHz. By estimating the passive ion current drawn by the system a prediction of the total radiated power is also made. The result of 0.38 mW raises the question of whether or not wave emissions from a passive current collecting system may be detectable by either ground- or space-based platforms.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research-space Physics
Issue numberA12
Pages (from-to)21245-21253
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1991
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Estimating radiated power from a conducting tethered satellite system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this