Drop tower simulates asteroid landing

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en

Released

29/02/2016

Length

00:00:50

Copyright

Credits: DEOS/DMSM, ISAE-SUPAERO ; Video editing: N. Murdoch (SSPA, ISAE-SUPAERO)

Description

Researchers in France have customised a drop tower to simulate landing a CubeSat on an asteroid in the near-absence of gravity – part of the preparations for ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission. A team at the Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace (ISAE-Supaero), part of the University of Toulouse, customised an existing drop tower, previously designated for aircraft and material drop-tests, rigging up a system of pulleys and counterweights to simulate reduced-gravity. They can go down to a few percent of Earth’s gravity within their drop box, to see how the lander interacts with our simulated sand-covered asteroid terrain.

The work is being done as part of the AGEX consortium, one of five sets of CubeSat designs competing to accompany ESA’s AIM to the double asteroid Didymos system. AGEX,  combining the Royal Observatory of Belgium, ISAE-Supaero, EMXYS, Antwerp Space and Asteroid Initiatives Ltd in the US, involves with one CubeSat lander and a second CubeSat dispatching still-smaller ‘chipsats’.

Credits: DEOS/DMSM, ISAE-SUPAERO

Video editing : N. Murdoch (SSPA, ISAE-SUPAERO)

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