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Foreword by Professor Simone D'Amico

Welcome to the Stanford Space Rendezvous Laboratory (SLAB)!

The Space Rendezvous Laboratory (SLAB) is a research and development laboratory of the department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University founded and led by Professor Simone D’Amico. SLAB performs fundamental and applied research at the intersection of Astrodynamics, Guidance/Navigation/Control (GN&C), Environment Characterization and Decision Making to enable future Distributed Space Systems (DSS). DSS are space architectures including two or more agents to achieve objectives otherwise impossible or very difficult to achieve by a single spacecraft. These include, but are not limited to: spacecraft formation-flying, rendezvous and docking, swarms, and fractionated space architectures.

The vision of SLAB is that DSS will help humanity addressing fundamental questions of space science, technology, exploration, and sustainability. In response to the ever increasing demands posed by these missions, SLAB’s objective is to develop, validate, and embed the necessary cutting-edge technologies into formations and swarms of micro- and nano-satellites to be launched in space. To this end, new multi-satellite mission concepts, new GN&C algorithms, and high-fidelity hardware-in-the-loop testbeds are under development. The research at SLAB is based on more than 20 years of experience in the design, implementation and flight operations of GN&C subsystems for formation-flying and on-orbit servicing missions. Past successfully flown DSS with Professor D'Amico's contributions include GRACE (2003), TanDEM-X (2010), PRISMA (2010), and BIROS (2016). Current DSS under development include STARLING (2023), SWARM-EX (2024), and VISORS (2024). SLAB partnerships at national and international level are paving the way for breakthrough demonstrations of new technology and science.