Applications of the Electrodynamic Tether to Interstellar Travel

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G. Matloff; L. Johnson (2005), JBIS, 58, 398-402

Refcode: 2005.58.398
Keywords: Interstellar travel, tethers, world ships, ramscoops, thrustless turning, on-board power sources

After considering relevant properties of the local interstellar medium and defining a sample interstellar mission, this paper considers possible interstellar applications of the electrodynamic tether, or EDT. These include use of the EDT to provide on- board power and affect trajectory modifications and direct application of the EDT to starship acceleration. It is demonstrated that comparatively modest EDTs can provide substantial quantities of on-board power, if combined with a large-area electron- collection device such as the Cassenti toroidal-field ramscoop. More substantial tethers can be used to accomplish large- radius thrustless turns. Direct application of the EDT to starship acceleration is apparently infeasible.

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