The satellite has already been put into orbit, and the first tests will soon begin. The invention is intended to help clear orbit of space debris.
Specialists of the US Navy Research Laboratory under the Tether Electrodynamic Propulsion CubeSat project created a space satellite that can be used without fuel: it moves by sail. It is reported by Scientific American.
A kubsat no larger than a shoe box can be decomposed into a low Earth orbit into two parts, which are connected by a thin cable 1 km long. Due to electrons and positive ions in the ionosphere, the cable can generate current.
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An electrified cable, interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field, creates an impulse that pushes the TEPCE satellite in the direction perpendicular to it.