Controlling a robotic arm reaching out for an air-bearing platform. A new simulation system allows researchers to investigate the complexities of contact dynamics in weightlessness. Simulating true microgravity is impossible but it can be mimicked on a frictionless basis in two dimensions. This space-age ‘air hockey table’ was first tested in November 2015. The centrepiece of ESA’s new Orbital Robotics and Guidance Navigation and Control Laboratory, it will serve proposals for missions aimed at microgravity or low-gravity environments.