I was reading about orbital rings, and more specifically I was thinking about how one could be constructed. It obviously would need angular momentum, because each piece of the ring (if separated from the ring) would not be stationary with respect to the Earth's inertial frame. This sort of got me thinking about a smaller scale experiment and had me realizing I have no idea what physics would do in this specific situation.
Here's the example:
A man on the ISS has a fishing pole with a reel of infinite unbreakable fishing line. The reel is also quite extraordinary and can release slack at any rate the man decides.
- Would the orbital motion of the ISS allow the line to trail behind it?
- At what rate would he need to be letting out slack?
- If it was letting out this line this quickly, would it maintain a circular shape?
- If enough line was let out to equal the circumference of the ISS's orbit, could the ISS meet back up with the fishing line?
- If we could meet back up with the beginning of the line and connect it into a ring, would it maintain angular momentum?
- Would it be less stable or more stable than an ordinary satellite?
- If any of these assumptions are wrong, what would happen?
I'm mostly concerned with the reasons why it wouldn't work. 'Meeting back up with the original location' is the least of which I am concerned about. I'm more concerned about the stability of the ring, provided it did meet back up (or if my thinking on the fact that 'letting out slack' wouldn't function as I've assumed), which led me to articles like non-linear dynamics of ring-world systems.