Seppänen H, Rauhala T, Kiprich S, Ukkonen J, Simonsson M, Kurppa R, Janhunen P, Hæggström E
Rev Sci Instrum 84 (9) 095102 [2013-09-00; online 2013-10-05]
We produced a 1 km continuous piece of multifilament electric solar wind sail tether of μm-diameter aluminum wires using a custom made automatic tether factory. The tether comprising 90,704 bonds between 25 and 50 μm diameter wires is reeled onto a metal reel. The total mass of 1 km tether is 10 g. We reached a production rate of 70 m/24 h and a quality level of 1‰ loose bonds and 2‰ rebonded ones. We thus demonstrated that production of long electric solar wind sail tethers is possible and practical.