SRC OG 12-14
The European Commission Horizon 2020 Strategic Research Cluster, the European Space Agency (ESA) and initiatives of national agencies foster European competitiveness of global space systems. The EU-funded EROSSplus project will design an on-orbit servicing and assembly demonstration mission for future commercial European robotic missions. The project will create a European solution for servicers for LEO/GEO satellites, relying on advanced robotics technologies developed with the support of the European Commission, ESA and other national entities. EROSSplus integrates advanced European technologies from sensors and actuators to software frameworks and algorithms, aiming to raise these building blocks to technologies demonstrated in the relevant environment for space applications (technology readiness level 6).
EROSS+ (European Robotic Orbital Support Services +) objective is to design the future on-orbit servicing and assembly demonstration mission that will address the most prominent market. The goal is to build an European solution for the Servicers and the future serviced LEO/GEO satellites leveraging on key robotic technologies developed in the past years thanks to the European Commission H2020 Strategic Research Cluster (SRC), the European Space Agency and national agencies initiatives.
This project gather all the key players who will shape the future space ecosystems and foster European competitiveness into this global shifting paradigm that space economy is facing. EROSS+ brings in a concept of a demonstration mission that will cover the full rendezvous phase of a collaborative and prepared client satellite including the capture, the servicing operations (refuelling, payload exchange, repair) and also in-orbit assembly. This will enable to validate the capabilities to perform all the future on orbit operations.
EROSS+ embeds key European technologies from sensors, actuators to software frameworks and algorithms. The aim being to raise up to TRL6 these building blocks for space applications and increase their functionalities and performances in a coherent work programme that targets the demonstration of the developed solutions in space for 2025. EROSS+ mission will pave the way for the future of commercial European space robotic missions. This Mission Study (phases 0/A/B1), will validate previous developments of the SRC, achieved through I3DS and integrated within EROSS. With EROSS+, EU with the support of Thales Alenia Space follows its plan to achieve a multi-purpose servicer demonstration for the Short term servicing business up to long term horizons. The project success relies on a highly skilled and space experienced consortium involving key actors of previous SRC Operational Grants which gathers 6 partners from 6 countries over 24 months with a budget of 3 M€.
In-space services, manufacturing and assembly (ISMA) is the way to increase functionalities and capacities of space assets while reducing costs and increasing reliability. The EU-funded PERIOD project aims to prepare the paradigm shift for changing the way space systems are designed, built and operated, moving from mission-specific solutions to modular spacecraft optimised for the space environment. The ambitious demonstration will lead to the manufacturing of a functioning satellite in an ‘orbital factory’ accommodated on the ISS Bartolomeo platform by 2025. The manufacturing includes the fabrication of an antenna reflector, the assembly of satellite components and its reconfiguration in the factory. PERIOD will generate a preliminary design of the demonstrator including the orbital factory and mature technologies in robotics and autonomy.
Space robotics technologies are maturing bringing new capabilities for In-Space Manufacturing and Assembly (ISMA). These capabilities will generate on-orbit services improving the orbital infrastructure creating in turn a very promising business opportunity in terms of market volume. The establishment of a European capacity is necessary for building this new space infrastructure and to capture a fair part of this market that could be otherwise monopolized by US firms. The concrete objectives of the project are focusing on the main levers to generate the capabilities, which are the further maturation of the space robotics technologies and the definition of an in-orbit demonstration to be implemented as soon as 2025. ESROCOS, ERGO and InFuse will be developed to TRL5 after an alignment of their perimeter to the demonstration objectives. The Standard Interconnects, at TRL5 at project start, will be tested in a benchmark for evaluating their performance. These SRC building blocks will be integrated in a breadboard at Airbus DS for supporting the system definition work. The PERIOD Consortium bringing together the competencies of Airbus DS, DFKI, EASN-TIS, GMV, GMV-SKY, ISIS, SENER and SpaceApps is proposing a very ambitious demonstration scenario and Factory concept. A satellite will be manufactured in the Factory to be designed in the study at SRR level and injected in LEO for being operated. The manufacturing includes the fabrication of an antenna, the assembly of the satellite components and its reconfiguration in the Factory. The demonstrator is accommodated on the ISS Bartolomeo platform which will be upgraded to extend the level of capability validation from assembly and manufacturing of structures to refuelling experiments. Dissemination activities will maximize the impact of the project toward the Space Community. This demonstration covers the short and mid-to-long term ISMA business cases and will support the transition into the in-space manufacturing paradigm.
A challenge in current space robotics research is to maximise the potential for reuse and identification of extensions to existing building blocks, while minimising the risks associated with the integration activities. Using robotics hardware and software building blocks developed within the Strategic Research Cluster on Space Robotics Technologies, the EU-funded CoRob-X project introduces a multi-agent robotic team for the exploration of planetary surfaces. Using challenging scenarios for a team of three autonomous robotic explorer units’ exploration of lunar lava tubes, the project tests and improves the maturity of existing technologies and demonstrates the feasibility of new and ambitious robotic missions as well as their useability for terrestrial applications in a terrestrial mining scenario
CoRob-X develops and demonstrates enabling technologies for multi-agent robotic teams. The primary target application is the exploration of planetary surfaces, with a focus on hard-to-reach areas. CoRob-X builds on robotic hardware provided by the project consortium and software building blocks developed within the framework of the SRC Space Robotics Technologies. These building blocks are reused and extended to support a multi-agent exploration team of robots. A first iteration of the Conceptual Study led us to select a set of specific scenarios for the exploration of Lunar surface and lava tubes with a team of three Robotic Explorer Units (REUs). The rovers are at different scale (dimensions, mass) and exhibit different locomotion principles/capabilities.
The final demonstration will be performed in a Moon/Mars (outdoor) analogue simulation environment and include the use of an instrument that will be used on a real space mission (same ground penetrating radar GPR as used in Exomars), and will be aimed to demonstrate how to improve the performances of a space mission (in terms of scientific return, timeliness, availability, responsiveness, and operation costs) and maturity level of the existing building blocks.
Additionally, a terrestrial mining scenario will be demonstrated that reuses the SW packages developed for the space mission but on different robotic platforms. The final demonstration for the terrestrial scenario will be in the mining facilities of Santa Barbara Foundation.
CoRob-X is firmly embedded in the SRC Space Robotics Research ecosystem. Corob-X´s team is formed by key partners that have been involved in each and every previous OG,s from the 1st and 2nd PERASPERA SRC call (from OG1 to OG11). Therefore, we can maximize the capability for re-use and identification of the extensions to the existing building blocks required and minimize the risks associated to the integration activities.