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Orbital Tether

Universe : Prime Timeline
Name : Orbital Tether1

The orbital tether is a surface to orbit transportation system designed to lift loads clear of a planetary atmosphere. Tethers are often a few hundred kilometres long, reaching low orbit.

The Talaxians used orbital tethers on their home world, and Neelix worked on one for two years before leaving the planet. His skills came in useful when one of Voyager's shuttles crashed on a Nezu colony world; the planet was equipped with orbital tethers, and Neelix was able to get one of them working sufficiently to get the shuttle's crew back into orbit.

It has been suggested that a tether could stretch all the way up past geostationary orbit, which would have certain advantages. A short tether such as those on the Nezu colony can lift a mass to orbital height, but it lacks the velocity to maintain an orbit and so must use some form of engine to enter orbit or escape the planet. At the height of synchronous orbit, a mass could simply move away from the tether into orbit. At higher heights the mass would actually be thrown into space, gaining kinetic energy directly from the planets rotation.1

Colour key

Canon source Backstage source Novel source DITL speculation


# Series Season Source Comment
1 VOY 3 Rise
Series : VOY Season 3 (Disc 5)
Episode : Rise

© Graham & Ian Kennedy Page views : 17,630 Last updated : 1 Jan 1970