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Video: Micro-G Test of “Sticky Boom” Docking Tech

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
May 16, 2011
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Video Caption: This video is the first Zero-G flight test of Altius Space Machine’s Electroadhesive “Sticky Boom” rendezvous and docking technology. This test was carried out by Altius engineer Mike Judson and Altius CEO Jonathan Goff on May 14th 2011, on a parabolic aircraft flight run by the Zero Gravity Corporation.

This video shows the four captures (three full and one partial) we were able to accomplish after getting our test operation dialed in during the twelve zero-g parabolas. The test was simulating the capture of a Mars Sample Return orbiting sample canister (the big stainless steel ball) in Mars orbit. The electroadhesive “sticky boom” technology, being developed by Altius Space Machines and SRI International, also will enable “non-cooperative” capture of satellites and space objects that don’t have docking targets built in.

While there is still a lot of further work required in maturing this technology for use in space, this flight was an important step in this process, and an excellent completion for our second “sprint”.

Special thanks to the Zero Gravity Corporation team (especially our coach Steve, our videographer Bryan, and Michelle who helped us make all the arrangements).

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