Tethered satellite systems: A challenge for mechanics and applied mathematics

Michael Schwarzbart, Alois Steindl, Wolfgang Steiner, Hans Troger, Georg Wiedermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Tethered satellite systems that is two or more satellites in orbit connected by thin long cables, pose a number of challenging problems in mechanics concerning modeling and derivation of the equations of motion and in applied mathematics, concerning the numerical simulation of their dynamics, deciding on stability of relative equilibria and the proof of chaotic dynamics. We also compare for the practically important process of deployment of one satellite from another satellite uncontrolled deployment with steered deployment, according to Pontrijagin's Maximum Principle. Related to the stability of relative equilibria, as example the Space elevator, which is a tethered system extending from the surface of the Earth beyond geostationary height, is considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-120
Number of pages16
JournalGAMM Mitteilungen
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


  • Chaotic dynamics
  • Hamilton's principle
  • Optimal control
  • Reduced energy momentum method
  • Relative equilibrium
  • Stiff differential equations

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