The amount of space debris is ever increasing, and pollution of the space environment has become a serious problem that can no longer be ignored. Consequently, the active removal of large space debris from crowded economically useful orbits should begin as soon as possible. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has been investigating an active debris removal system that employs highly efficient electrodynamic tether (EDT) technology for orbital transfer. This study investigates the tether deployment from a spool-type reel using thrusters by means of numerical simulations of an EDT system. The thrusters are used in order to ensure the deployment of a tether with the length of several kilometers. In the simulations using a multiple mass tether model, the key parameters are estimated from various on-ground experiments. By means of the numerical simulations, the dynamics of tether deployment is studied and requirements of thruster needed for the deployment, such as the thrust forces and the periods of thruster activation, are clarified.
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