Orion Research Lab
Florida Institute of Technology

Orion Research Lab

The Orbital Robotic Interaction, On-orbit servicing, and Navigation laboratory is built around a unique spaceflight maneuver simulator: A 3.6 m x 6 m flat-floor maneuver dynamics simulator integrated into a gantry-type six degrees-of-freedom maneuver kinematics simulator. This unique combination permits the simulation of relative maneuver kinematics and dynamics with a large range of objects and using unlimited combinations of air-bearing vehicles, drones, robotics hardware, and sensor systems. 

Orion Simulator

All objects moving on the gantry, floating on the flat-floor, or flying within the test chamber are tracked by a twelve-camera OptiTrack system, with accuracies reaching 0.1 mm in position and 0.1 degrees in orientation.

12 camera OptiTrack System

The on-orbit lighting is simulated using high-power, low-temperature LED panels. While not perfectly representing sunlight in orbit, these panels generate lighting conditions sufficiently realistic for the testing of sensor systems and teleoperation. The walls of the test chamber are painted in low-reflectivity black to keep ambient light to a minimum.

Our Mission

  • Research and development of control systems for small spacecraft and unmanned vehicles.
  • Development of autonomous and teleoperated robotic systems.
  • Quality undergraduate and graduate education in design, execution, and analysis of experiments.