Has there been any consideration to the use of a tether between to identical space vehicles (e.g. two SpaceX Starships) to induce artifical gravity?

I think you would need a diameter that could only be achieved with flexible tether rather than a "bend resistant structure". I imagine however that a tether might be unstable. I am sure the longer term future of space flight will require gravity as zero g is terrible on the body.

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    $\begingroup$ This has been tested over half a century ago $\endgroup$ Apr 23, 2021 at 17:13
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    $\begingroup$ I believe that tethering 2 Starships has been the subject of numerous discussions on forums. One point to note - a nose docking port may not be best placed to take the weight of an entire Starship. I think Robert Zubrin made a case for tethering a Mars transfer habitat module to a spent upper stage in the case for Mars, but that was not a symmetrical arrangement. $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Apr 23, 2021 at 17:29
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    $\begingroup$ You can also search the site for tehter* (327 results!) and questions that have the space-tether tag. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Apr 23, 2021 at 22:22

1 Answer 1


Tethers in general have been considered, yes. This video by Scott Manley highlights him consulting on the Netflix film Stowaway to discuss the design of a tether-based interplanetary vessel featured in the film.

It's a pretty safe bet that if filmmakers are showing 'crunchy' (well-researched, technically accurate) design schemes for spacecraft, the engineering community has been kicking the idea around for a minute.

As to whether or not identical vessels in particular have been considered, I can't imagine they weren't the first design envisioned when someone looked into the concept - it greatly reduces the necessary math to rough the idea out.

  • $\begingroup$ And yet isaac arthur never mentions it. :/ $\endgroup$
    – Innovine
    Apr 24, 2021 at 14:56
  • $\begingroup$ One would argue that Isaac Arthur aims to l and bigger fish. His proposed orbital ring scheme is arguably just a continuous electromagnetic tether... $\endgroup$ Apr 27, 2021 at 13:27

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