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FELDs (Flexible Electromagnetic Leash Docking system) is an experiment that aims at building and testing an innovative satellite docking system. In space, satellites and other spacecraft often have to rendez-vous for disparate reasons, such as refueling, maintenance, space debris capture and personnel transfers.

Current space vehicles use robotic arms or mechanical systems to perform the docking, with a significant expense of time and energy.
Our idea is an alternative to the existing systems that uses a flexible system (a wire) attached to a metal sphere that is shot by one vehicle towards the other, which attracts it with a magnetic field.
The experiment will be tested in zero gravity conditions, which will be obtained by dropping it from the top of a 150m special tower. During the free fall, the setup will be in zero-g for about 5 seconds, during which we will test our docking system. If the experiment succeeds, future developments may even include a test in space.

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The renowned Turin newspaper "la Stampa" dedicated a whole page of its national edition to FELDs!

The article describes the experiment, as well as the Hans von Muldau award we won in the IAC 2015 student competition last month

 

 

Last week, the FELDs team attended the International Astronautical Conference (IAC), presenting a paper on the experiment. We're proud to say that we won the Hans Von Muldau award for best student team work, organized by the German Society for Aeronautics and Astronautics (DGLR)! The field was very competitive, with lots of great ideas, and we were very happy to receive the prize! We even got a nice trophy to drink the victory champagne in

 

 

This is the "il Mattino di Padova" of 04/01; notice anyone familiar?

ilmattino

 

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