This is the fourth and final part of the tether propulsion article of the non-rocket spacelaunch methods article series. This post will focus on references to the tether propulsion concept in fiction. The most prominent science fiction novels on the subject include the following.
The use of tethers in space poses many challenges and safety issues. This third part to the tether propulsion article will focus on those issues. A lot of the challenges and safety issues of a space tether system are similar to those of a space elevator described in a previous article, but some are unique to the space tether concept.
Tether propulsion consists in using long, very strong cables (known as tethers) to change the velocity of spacecraft and payloads. The tethers may be used to initiate launch, complete launch, or alter the orbit of a spacecraft. This form of propulsion would be significantly less expensive than spaceflight using modern rocket engines.