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WRANGLER: Capture and De-Spin of Asteroids and Space Debris
June 4, 2014

[image-51]Robert Hoyt
Tethers Unlimited

To enable capture and manipulation of asteroids and space debris while minimizing risk to the primary spacecraft, Tethers Unlimited, Inc (TUI) proposes the use of a nanosatellite-scale sub-satellite, called the Weightless Rendezvous And Net Grapple to Limit Excess Rotation (WRANGLER) System, which will capture and de-spin the space object. WRANGLER will accomplish these functions by combining two innovative technologies that have been developed by TUI: the GRASP deployable net capture device, and the SpinCASTER tether deployer/winch mechanism. Successful testing of both technologies in a microgravity environment has established these technology components at mid-TRL maturity. The leverage offered by using a tether to extract angular momentum from a rotating space object enables a very small nanosatellite system to de-spin a very massive asteroid or large spacecraft. The WRANGLER system is suitable for an incremental development program that will validate the technology through an affordable test flight in which a nanosatellite launched on a rideshare opportunity would capture and de-spin the upper state used to launch it.

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Asteroid being captured.
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Page Last Updated: June 5th, 2014
Page Editor: Loura Hall