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A student experience on board the zero G

Published on

30 Apr 2021

Seven months ago, the I CARE experiment took off aboard NoveSpace’s A310 Zero-G to be tested in microgravity. The team of 6 students who worked 1 year on a robotic arm to catch space debris was part of the 59th CNES campaign.

In 2020, the Foundation embarked on the project by granting them the support possible thanks to the many donors who chose the Innovative Pedagogy axis.


Florian Roselli: The I CARE project is an experiment designed within the framework of the Parabole Étudiant project, organized by the CNES.
This competition allows students to carry out their Zero G experience by participating in a parabolic campaign. I CARE has three main objectives which are to:

1) Design a capture interface between a Robotic Arm and a CubeSat.

2) Measure the stiffness of the capture interface between the Robotic Arm and the CubeSat.

3) Quantify the motion at the Euler-Poinsot.

Our experiment consists mainly of a robotic arm equipped with an electromagnetic CubeSat capture system, a CubeSat, its deployer and measurement elements.

This project is therefore closely related to the theme of space debris, a subject that particularly animates the members of the I CARE team and which motivated us in our approach. All six of us are studying for a Specialized Master’s degree at ISAE SUPAERO (TAS ASTRO and SEN). We are all already engineers and have different backgrounds, which helped us to overcome the difficulties that arose during the project. Everyone has found their place in order to successfully complete this human and technological adventure.

Understanding the project


The project was initiated in October 2019 by researching an experiment and characterizing it. We learned of our selection in January 2020 for the CNES Parabola competition, a step that allowed us to start working on the experiment for a flight in October of the same year. Between January and October, we designed our systems and began manufacturing them. Starting in June 2020, we accelerated the project by working daily at InnovSpace. The month of September was dedicated to the finalization of the manufacturing and the verification of all Novespace requirements, allowing our experiment to be qualified for flight.


The flight campaign took place from September 28 to October 9. We went to Novespace twice during this one. The first time to verify the experiment in flight configuration with Novespace engineers and the second time to prepare the experiment and integrate it into the aircraft. Florian and Manuel had the privilege to be the experimenters on board during our flight on October 8th. The experiment went well since all our equipment was functional even if the aircraft disturbances greatly complicated the capture of the CubeSat.

Return on the flight in tweets

In video

Thank you from the whole team!

We would like to thank you once again for your help and trust.
In addition to the pride that it represents for us to be supported by the ISAE-SUPAERO Foundation, the financial aid played a great role in the success of this project.