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Space Tethers and Space Elevators Hardcover – May 29, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0387765556 ISBN-10: 0387765557 Edition: 2009th

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 215 pages
  • Publisher: Copernicus; 2009 edition (May 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387765557
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387765556
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,904,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


From the reviews:

"Michel Van Pelt’s book Space Tethers and Space Elevators (Copernicus/Praxis, 2009), a treatment of a technology we seldom consider in these pages … . his book is a must read for those of us interested in deep space development. … This is enlightening reading, and I’m glad to see a book focused on tethers … coming onto the popular science market. … useful for creating artificial gravity on long space missions and, interestingly, sweeping away dangerous charged particles around a spacecraft." (Centauri Dreams, August, 2009)

"In this book, Michel explains what the advantages of tethers in space are and the benefits they can provide, including Space debris mitigation and tether propulsion. … I thoroughly enjoyed this book and learned much from it. It will be very valuable to anyone who wants to learn about alternatives to using rockets to get into space or space tethers and/or space elevators in general. Michel van Pelt’s book is a very valuable addition to the ever-growing body of literature on this subject. Highly recommended." (The Space Elevator Blog, December, 2009)

“Author Michel van Pelt makes clear in Space Tethers and Space Elevators … interesting thing that tether technology can do. Tethers could also be used as a slingshot to boost satellites into interplanetary orbits, improve astronauts’ health by supplying artificial gravity, and clean up space junk by using ‘tether terminators’ to drag obsolete satellites earthwards until they burn up on re-entering the atmosphere. … Logical, thorough and packed with fascinating information, this slim volume would make a valuable addition to any space enthusiast’s library.” (Physics World, February, 2010) “If any book can be said to be ahead of its time, this is it. … van Pelt goes on to describe various space-tether concepts, some feasible and some verging on the fanciful. … For anyone interested in learning more about the fascinating possibilities offered by space tethers, this well-written, clearly illustrated book is the ideal introduction.” (Peter Bond, The Observatory, Vol. 130 (1214), February, 2010) “This review of space tethers and space elevators provides a good description of the history of the application of tethers in space missions, along with the challenges faced in further exploitation of this technology. … The book is very much written for the nontechnical person. … Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and general readers.” (D. B. Spencer, Choice, Vol. 47 (5), January, 2010)

From the Back Cover

On Earth, tethers or ropes or lines are used primarily to bind things to each other. In Space, tethers can also be used to attach spacecraft to each other, but this technology involves much more than simply tying things together. Ropes can also be used to climb, to reach places higher up – maybe all the way into space and in fact this concept exists in the form of a space elevator, consisting of a long, incredibly strong cable that stretches from the Earth’s surface into space. Solar powered "climber" machines, which are already under development, could use such a cable to haul cargo into orbit.

Space tethers could also be used as a means of transportation, to swing from one place to another. In stories on Earth, Tarzan uses liana vines to swing from tree to tree, and there are many serious ideas for using tethers in space in a somewhat similar way: swinging satellites into another orbit, or even passing them from tether to tether all the way to the Moon and Mars! Although this sounds like science fiction, many space missions using tethers have already flown. Most of them have been relatively small and experimental, but in the near future space tethers have the potential to revolutionize space flight.

More About the Author

Michel van Pelt (1972) lives in The Netherlands and has a passion for space.

He works as an engineer at ESTEC, the technical centre of the European Space Agency (ESA), and has authored several space books, of which "Rocketing into the Future" is the most recent. He is an editor and writer for the Dutch space magazine "Ruimtevaart" and writes about Mars exploration for the Dutch space and astronomy magazine "Astruim". Articles of van Pelt have also appeared in Mars Exploration Magazine.

As an ESA engineer, he prepares cost estimates and analyses proposals for new space missions, satellites and launch vehicles. He also regularly works on the design of new space missions in ESA's Concurrent Design Facility, acting as team leader, system engineer or cost engineer.

Michel regularly presents on space related topics such as Mars missions, spaceplanes and the future of spaceflight; recently for the Nationaal Ruimtevaart Museum / Aviodrome, Kenniscafe Almere, Science Cafe Nijmegen and the Club of Amsterdam.

In addition he is a licensed BSAC dive instructor.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Terry Sunday TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Michel van Pelt's "Space Tethers and Space Elevators" provides a good introduction to a spaceflight subject that probably only very few people understand. Even fewer people realize the benefits that might accrue if Earth's spacefaring nations were to replace their loud, smoky, vibrating, polluting, marginally reliable "rocket ships" as satellite launchers and instead use applications of tether technology to launch their payloads into space. That there are advantages to using tethers and "space elevators" instead of rockets is undeniable. Equally undeniable, however, is that space tethers have their own sets of issues and problems, and most of their applications depend crucially on super-strong yet lightweight materials that have not yet been invented, and may well be unobtainable.

"Space Tethers and Space Elevators" is very well-organized and clearly written, and it contains just the right level of technical depth to make it accessible to most readers who know anything at all about spaceflight. Having had a long career in engineering satellites and spacecraft (among other things), and with a spaceflight library running to several hundred volumes, I still knew almost nothing about tethers when I began this book. My knowledge of space elevators was limited to Arthur C. Clarke's novelized treatment in "The Fountains of Paradise." Now, having read Mr. van Pelt's work, I feel that I could hold my own in any cocktail-party discussion of the subject.

There are many potential uses of tethers in space. Theoretically, they can put satellites into orbit from the ground up, move them into higher or lower orbits, generate electricity, provide artificial gravity, de-orbit re-entry vehicles and even sweep up hazardous charged particles from planetary radiation belts.
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