MiTEE-1 (MiTEE-A, Miniature Tether Electrodynamics Experiment)

Name MiTEE-1 (MiTEE-A, Miniature Tether Electrodynamics Experiment)
Type CubeSat
Units or mass 3U
Mass in kg 1.7 kg
Status Operational (SmallSat 2021. Previously nominal and then last off-nominal report on Jan 19, but continous SatNOGS reports with data)
Launched 2021-01-17
NORAD ID 47314
Deployer FANTM-RAiL [Xtenti]
Launcher LauncherOne
Organisation University of Michigan
Institution University
Entity Academic / Education
Nation US
Launch brokerer NASA CSLI / ELaNa

Assess the feasibility of using miniature electrodynamic (ED) tethers in space as means to provide “propellantless”.


Uses a deployable rigid boom instead of a flexible tether. Assess the feasibility of using miniature electrodynamic (ED) tethers in space as means to provide “propellantless” thrust to maneuver new classes of very small satellites (so-called “picosats” and “femotsats”), that can be the size of your “smart-phone” and smaller, and also make up for atmospheric drag as they orbit around the Earth. The key questions we need to understand center on the physical dynamics (how it moves) and electrodynamics (how it flows currents through the conducting tether and generates thrust).

Deploy a picosatellite body of approximately 8 cm × 8 cm × 2 cm from a 3U CubeSat to demonstrate and assess an ultra-small satellite electrodynamics tether in the space environment where the fundamental dynamics and plasma electrodynamics. The miniature electrodynamics tethers, which are a few meters long, have the potential to provide propellantless propulsion, passive two-axis attitude stabilization and enhanced communication utility to the next generation of small satellites.

For the first version known as MiTEE-1, there will be a single 1 meter long rigid boom connecting the two satellites. It will focus on measuring how much current, if any, can be induced by the ionosphere, another feature of the space immediately surrounding Earth. Follow-on projects would test the tether for use as an actual antenna, and try to measure whether it would be feasible to completely float a pico-satellite system without any propellant.

Sources [1] [2] [3] [4]
Photo sources [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
Keywords Tether, Propulsion

Last modified: 2023-06-09
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Created by Erik Kulu


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