Selected by the CNES as part of the Parabole 2020 project, the I CARE experiment will soon be tested aboard the Novespace’s Zero G Aircraft, an aircraft specially designed to free itself from the effects of terrestrial gravity on board, which will enable them to verify the robustness of the capture system and study the movement of stabilised satellites. As the next CNES parabolic flight campaign will take place in October 2020, the students of the I CARE project have decided to join LIDE.Space to prepare for their final flight on board NOVESPACE’s Airbus A310.
LIDE (Glide, without G) is a recent initiative launched by four Supaéro alumni (class of 2015). Their goal is to develop glider-based parabolic flights in order to perform experiments in microgravity at a lower cost. Access to earthbound weightlessness is critical to many branches of applied sciences, such as material science, fluid dynamics, combustion physics, or plant biology. Besides, several space systems require microgravity testing before their launch. Existing solutions (drop towers, parabolic flights, sounding rockets) offer variable durations and qualities of microgravity environment, but their cost and lead times make them unpractical for small actors such as universities or start-up companies. This leads to a growing interest for alternative microgravity platforms. After performing a campaign of test flights between 2018 and 2019, in order to validate the microgravity flight capabilities of gliders, the LIDE team now expects to democratize access to microgravity.
As a result, LIDE and I CARE have decided to work together. The LIDE team will fly one of the sub-components of he I CARE experiment onboard a glider: the goal of this first test flight will be to study the displacement and the attitude of the Cubesat in microgravity, so as to prepare the final experiment with Novespace next October.
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