IPERDRONE (DAVID, Iperdrone.0, Autonomous Drone ISS Verification and Deorbit)

Spacecraft name IPERDRONE (DAVID, Iperdrone.0, Autonomous Drone ISS Verification and Deorbit)
Type CubeSat
Units or mass 8U
Status not launched, expected in 2024
Launcher Vega C
Entity name CIRA (Italian Aerospace Research Centre)
Institution Non-profit
Entity Government (Civil / Military)
Nation Italy
Manufacturer AIVT by Terran Orbital
Operator Terran Orbital

Proximity operations mission of a long-term program developing a multi-functional re-entry system.


Initial risk-reduction step of a long-term program developing a multi-functional re-entry system able to perform autonomous on-orbit operations. Payloads include a diverse set of instruments for relative navigation, a customized propulsion system and dedicated computing capability supporting the vehicle navigation and enabling proximity operations maneuvers.

It was designed to re-enter from low orbit through the Earth’s atmosphere and will operate as a space “messenger”, bringing back to Earth the materials of the scientific experiments conducted on the International Space Station.

IPERDRONE’s first mission, called DAVID, is scheduled for autumn 2019. On that occasion, the Italian space aircraft will perform its first test to demonstrate its capability to interact with the International Space Station, with the transport of the first payloads.

Following its launch, the platform will progressively approach the ISS, where the inspection phase will take place. In fact, the system is equipped with optical payloads to capture visible and infra-red images of the space station from a distance ranging between 300 and 1,500 metres with an accuracy of up to 5 cm; such inspection capability is of paramount importance to the space station that, during its Low Earth Orbit, is subject to orbital debris impact.

Sources [1] [2] [3] [4]
Photo sources [1] [2]
COTS subsystems
  • PLATFORM - Tyvak
Keywords Propulsion, Free-Flying Inspector, Formation flying, Re-entry capsule

Last modified: 2023-12-28

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