PACMAN is one of six student teams from all over Europe who recently performed - after more than a year of development – their Fly Your Thesis! 2017 experiments in the 'Zero-G' aircraft.
Their experiment was a technology demonstrator whose main goal was to develop and validate, in microgravity conditions, an integrated system for proximity navigation and soft docking based on magnetic interactions. This was accomplished by launching a miniature spacecraft mock-up towards a fixed target that generates a static magnetic field; a set of actively-controlled magnetic coils on-board the spacecraft mock-up, assisted by dedicated localization sensors, was used to control its attitude and position relative to the target.
Fly Your Thesis! is a recurring programme that ESA Education sponsors on a yearly basis. During the FYT! programme, students receive valuable feedback from ESA, Novespace, and European Low Gravity Research Association (ELGRA) experts; last but least, they get the extraordinary opportunity to execute their experiments in microgravity conditions on-board a state-of-the-art vehicle like the Novespace Zero-G aircraft, alongside professional researchers.