The Mission of SLAB is to conceive, develop and validate cutting-edge multi-satellite systems’ technologies and embed them into formations and swarms of autonomous micro- and nano-satellites to be deployed in space. Our research and development is focused on robust and precise GN&C and environment characterization technologies as well as their rigorous validation through high-fidelity hardware-in-the-loop emulators and flight demonstrations.
At SLAB, we believe that advanced multi-satellite systems will help humanity addressing fundamental questions of space science, technology, exploration, and sustainability.. Today, constellations are already providing global navigation and communication services; formation flying satellites are producing accurate digital elevation and gravity field models of the earth; and rendezvous & docking missions are routinely conducted with the international space station.
Future distributed space missions have been conceived to systematically discover and characterize earth-like planets, to detect gravitational waves, to better understand the earth's magnetosphere, and to study the corona of the sun. The emergence of on-orbit servicing will become established to help reduce space debris population, prolong the lifetime of space missions, and enable the autonomous assembly of large structures in space.
In the long term, novel architectures such as swarms and fractionated spacecraft will establish powerful networks in space with exceptional characteristics. Heterogeneous and wireless inter-connected modules will be able to share and utilize resources within its cluster. Open source interface standards, low-cost commercial hardware, and miniaturization will become a key enabler in mirroring the terrestrial internet in the on-orbit environment, pushing further our sustained development of future space systems.
The logo of the Stanford Space Rendezvous Laboratory (SLAB) intends to represent our vision and mission, through three elements: the word “Space”, the word “Rendezvous”, and the symbol *S. “Space” reflects the space-borne nature of our laboratory’s research. “Rendezvous” is a very concise synonym of multi-satellite or distributed space systems. These space architectures include rendezvous as a major component. *S represents the path or trajectory of Stanford to the stars. Ultimately SLAB was conceived as a space for students, researchers, professors and staff to first rendezvous on Earth, at Stanford University!