Testing Campaign for Redwire’s International Berthing and Docking Mechanism Successfully Completed

To overcome the limitations of conventional docking systems, Redwire has developed a highly versatile, resilient, high performance, and low impact berthing and docking solution that is fully computer-controlled and designed for use with both large mass and very lightweight spacecraft – and it’s recently completed successful environmental testing in Toulouse, France.

The International Berthing and Docking Mechanism (IBDM) is the culmination of an extensive research and development program undertaken by Redwire, the European Space Agency’s prime contractor for IBDM, and its subcontractors Sener and Beyond Gravity.

Redwire’s International Berthing and Docking Mechanism. Credit: Redwire

As part of the qualification process for IBDM, it must complete environmental testing. This testing includes vibration, shock, electro-magnetic (EMC) and thermal-vacuum (TVAC) testing, which are essential to prove the hardware is working properly and suitable for human spaceflight. Soon, IBDM will complete a new round of testing: EMC tests followed by a second round of environmental tests, with a goal of having a fully qualified system by the end of the year.

IBDM is composed of a Soft Capture System (SCS) and a Hard Capture System (HCS). The SCS is activated upon first contact and performs capture, dissipates the relative velocity of the two vehicles, and then aligns the docking pairs for hard docking. The HCS allows solidification to the interface, allows for pressurization of the docking vestibule, and connects the electrical and/or fluid umbilical’s. The HCS also grants undocking through the use of separators.

Redwire’s team in front of the IBDM mounted on the shaker for vibration testing. Credit: Redwire

IBDM is fully redundant and compliant to the International Docking System Standard. It can be used in the following applications:

  • Autonomous docking of crewed vehicles, cargo vehicles, station modules.
  • Safe capture and damping in case of vehicle power failure.
  • (Re-)Berthing of vehicles.
  • Resource transfer through automated umbilical mating
IBDM mounted and operational inside the TVAC chamber. Credit: Redwire

This capability adds to Redwire’s portfolio next-generation, mission enabling technology for today’s most complex space missions and building a robust space economy.

Stay Informed.

Subscribe to our newsletter and keep pace with one of the most innovative and fastest growing space companies on and off Earth.










Heritage + Innovation

Contact Redwire today and discover how we can help make your mission a success.

Redwire continues to lead the way in pioneering innovative in-space manufacturing and servicing technologies that deliver incomparable benefits and cost savings across a wide range of applications.

Website + Salesforce
Website links or URLs of any kind are not permitted.