Robert P. Hoyt

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Dr. Robert P. Hoyt is a physicist and engineer who is known for his work developing the SpiderFab[1][2] architecture for in-space additive manufacture of spacecraft as well as for his invention of the Hoytether.[3][4] He also originated the MXER Tether concept, which combines momentum-exchange techniques with electrodynamic reboost propulsion to enable a bolo tether system to serve as a fully reusable in-space upper stage for boosting many payloads from LEO to GEO or lunar trajectories. He also has done work and collaborated with the late Robert L. Forward on electrodynamic space tethers for use for deorbiting space junk and interplanetary transport.[5] He was one of the authors of a paper on using tethers for cis-lunar transportation.[6] The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum included a Hoytether designed and fabricated by Dr. Hoyt in an exhibition on high-tech textiles.[7]

In addition to his work on space tethers, Dr. Hoyt has pioneered methods for using additive manufacturing to create structures and components for spacecraft, both on the ground and in orbit, and has worked to develop self-fabricating satellites under funding from DARPA and NASA.[8] Dr. Hoyt also invented the Structureless Antenna technology, which uses electrostatic forces to deploy ultra-lightweight large-aperture antenna reflectors, enabling small spacecraft to deploy and use large, high-gain antennas. Other projects he has been involved with are an invention to drain the Van Allen radiation belts, development of robotic arms for small spacecraft, and development of tether-based methods to enable tiny nanosatellites to capture and de-spin asteroids and space debris objects.

Dr. Hoyt is the CEO and Chief Scientist of Tethers Unlimited, Inc.

Dr. Hoyt also co-founded ScienceOps in 2007, a company that develops custom scientific algorithms and software for a wide range of industries, including biotech, online advertising, and aerospace. ScienceOps was acquired by Acquisio in 2012.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "NASA 360 Talks - Building in Space". Video describing SpiderFab project.
  2. ^,SpiderFab™: An Architecture for Self-Fabricating Space Systems. AIAA Paper detailing system concept
  3. ^,The Hoytether: A Space-Survivable Tether Structure. Overview of the technology with picture
  4. ^ Forward, R.L., Hoyt, R.P.,"Failsafe Multiline Hoytether Lifetimes", AIAA paper 95-289031st AIAA/SAE/ASME/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference, San Diego, CA, July 1995.
  5. ^ Forward, R.L., Hoyt, RP, Uphoff, CW, "The Terminator Tether(TM): A Low-Mass System for End-of-Life Deorbit of LEO Spacecraft,". Tether Technical Interchange Meeting, Huntsville, AL Sept 10 1997.
  6. ^ AIAA-99-2690: CISLUNAR TETHER TRANSPORT SYSTEM Robert P. Hoyt Chauncey Uphoff
  7. ^
  8. ^ "SpiderFab: Process for On-Obit Construction of Kilometer-Scale Apertures"