Stability of a ring of connected satellites

V. V. Beletsky*, E. M. Levin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The motion of a large number of artificial satellites connected in a ring one after another by tethers of variable length is considered. Every satellite is supposed to have a control system programmed according to some tether tension law as a function of the distance between tethered satellites. The effect of the tension control law on the stability of stationary rotation of this ring is investigated. The final stability condition includes two requirements: 1) the nominal tether tension should be less than a definite limit equal, up to numerical coefficient, to one satellite weight divided by the number of satellites; 2) tether tension should decrease (or remain constant) with the increase of the distance between tethered satellites. In dynamics the artificial rings of this kind are much like their natural prototype-meteor rings. On the other hand, the investigation of the artificial rings contributes to developing an unexpected view upon meteor rings, suggesting a model of an imaginary equivalent string.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765-769
Number of pages5
JournalActa Astronautica
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1985
Externally publishedYes


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