The Chair of Aerospace Information Technology at the University of Würzburg (Germany) has developed a Floating Satellite (FloatSat) system in order to help students understand and get familiar with basic satellite subsystems and also to develop and test different attitude control algorithms and strategies for small satellites in an almost frictionless environment similar to that in space. This system has been used with excellent feedback by our postgraduate students as a compulsory course in the SpaceMaster program, as well as by our undergraduate students as a part of the exercises offered in the Aerospace Laboratory.
The FloatSat system is consists mainly from a mechanical structure that contains the basic satellite subsystems. This structure is placed into a hemisphere shell that it is floating inside a spherical air bearing unit. The air bearing unit requires compressed air input may vary depending on the mass of the floating unit. In order to monitor and command the FloatSat, a ground station computer is used to communicate via the Bluetooth or the Wi-Fi module available in the satellite through commanding and telemetry display tool.