The present paper is aimed at investigating the dynamics of release of objects in free-falling conditions typical of space applications. In the presence of surface interaction forces, a quick separation of the released from the constraining body will result in a momentum transfer, provided that the inertial forces exceed the maximum attractive force. The release conditions as well as the related parameters affecting the momentum acquired by the released body through the adhesion rupture play a fundamental role. Therefore, an analytical model has been set up to predict the imparted momentum in the case of conservative interaction forces. Furthermore, an experimental technique aimed at measuring the momentum transfer has been analyzed. Particular attention has been placed on the capability to accurately reproduce the stress status on the contact patch, on the noise sources affecting the measurement, and on the performances of a noise optimal-filtering technique in terms of achievable measurement resolution.

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