The Space Systems Group (SSG) was created from research and development activities performed at CISAS (Centre of Studies and Activities for Space – University of Padova) by Prof. Alessandro Francesconi. The activities on which SSG focuses can be grouped in three branches: Space Debris, On-Orbit Servicing (OOS) and Technologies for Small Satellites.



PROTECTION: development and testing of materials/structureal shieldings for the passive protection of satellites from space debris and micrometeoroids impacts. During test campaigns, a hypervelocity facility equipped with a light-gas gun is employed. Such device is capable to accelerate small projectiles up to 7 km/s in order to evaluate the impact with space structures. In addition, the group develops predictive models for the evaluation of damages due to impacts, impact probability and consequences on functionality of the involved subsystems

REMEDIATION: development of Active Debris Removal enabling technologies; methods for the capture and removal of dismissed satellites and launcher stages, in order to reduce the risk of collisions with operative vehicles; optimization studies for debris removal missions



CAPTURE: development of technologies for capturing non-cooperative objects on orbit (strictly correlated to remediation), in particular of electro-adhesive systems able to adapt to various shaped surfaces to grab objects with unknown shape and without “handholds”

DOCKING / BERTHING: development of technologies for rendez-vous maneuvers and docking/assembling of automatic cooperative satellites, both for orbital applications and for the realisation of laboratory simulators

INNOVATIVE ACTUATORS: development of actuators much simpler and lighter than existing ones, to realise robotic arms to be used during space debris capture operations or inspection / maintenance / refurbishment of operative satellites

ROBOTIC SIMULATORdesign and development of a laboratory simulator for proximity manoeuvres between orbital vehicles



OPTICAL COMMUNICATION: design and development of stabilization devices for miniaturized laser-com terminals on-board small satellites

STABILIZATION OF FLEXIBLE STRUCTURES: analysis of methods and techniques for the active reduction/damping of vibrations in flexible appendages

NAVIGATION SENSORS: design and testing of low-mass, low-power solutions for close-range relative navigation on-board miniature satellites

ATTITUDE DETERMINATION: development of a miniaturized attitude determination system based on relative GPS receivers


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