The objective of this paper is to derive the dynamic equations of a tether as it is deployed or retrieved by a winch on a satellite orbiting around Earth using Newton’s laws and Hamilton’s principle and show the equivalence of the two methods. The main feature of this continuous system is the presence of a variable length domain with discontinuities. Discontinuity is present at the boundary of deployment because of the assumption that the stowed part of the cable is unstretched and the deployed part is not. Developing equations for this variable domain system with discontinuities, specially using Hamilton’s principle, is a nontrivial task and we believe that it has not been adequately addressed in the literature.

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