Thursday, September 27, 2007

Longest-ever space tether fails to deploy, flings capsule towards Earth

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We've seen some pretty wild ideas for space tethers, but it seems like actually executing is a little trickier than people expect -- a joint Russian Space Agency / ESA Young Engineers Satellite 2 mission just screeched to a halt as the deployment of an 18-mile space tether went awry. The project, which was to involve the longest object ever deployed in space, was part of a challenge issued to European university students to safely return an object from space, but failed when the the capsule accidentally released after just 5 miles of tether had unwound. The team thinks the idea still has merit, saying that "they are extremely satisfied and would like to do more mission testing." Here's hoping the next time goes a little smoother.

[via] Engadget

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