Objective of the project

     

 

1. DEVELOP AND INTEGRATE THE KEY BUILDING BLOCKS FOR ON-ORBIT SERVICING WITH A COLLABORATIVE SATELLITE

EROSS purpose is to enable on-orbit servicing with a collaborative client satellite (with specific features to ease its capture and manipulation. Key building blocks in terms of hardware, software, GNC algorithms and avionics have to be developed, adapter or improved depending on the type of application and finally integrated to be able to perform servicing operations. EROSS will bring them together to tailor on-orbit servicing missions and increase their maturity to aim for the space application:

  • Previous Strategic Research Cluster (SRC) Operational Grants (OG) outcomes that are ESROCOS (OG1), ERGO (OG2), InFUSE (OG3), I3DS (OG4) and SIROM (OG5)
  • Mating interfaces such as multipurpose gripper for capture, ASSIST for docking & refueling, Latching & Locking Mechanism
  • Specific GNC architecture and algorithm development to enable the rendezvous and robotic operations
  • Software and avionics development to embed all this solution

    2. DEMONSTRATE ON-ORBIT SERVICING CAPABILITIES WITH A COOPERATIVE AND PREPARED SATELLITE IN RELEVANT ENVIRONMENT

The main goal of EROSS is to demonstrate the capability of a future Space Tug to perform capturing, grasping, berthing and manipulating a target satellite, including services such as refuelling and payload transfer. For that respect, EROSS takes benefits of the most mature building blocks available in Europe and will focus its simulation and hardware demonstrations on these core functions. EROSS will demonstrate the capture grasping and berthing of a target with a multipurpose gripper, the refuelling with ASSIST interface and the payload transfer using SIROM. A strong focus has been made to comply with the PERASPERA compendium objectives as primary target of all investigations. The capabilities required by the compendium will be developed and validated through demonstration in representative facilities. Moreover, facilities where previous building blocks (OG6 FACILITATORS) have been validated will be reused for EROSS demonstration with GMV facilities or TASF Robotic Facility (ROBY) where I3DS orbital use-case has been validated. Additional facility used in previous ESA project will also be used such as NTUA Air bearing facility for hardware validation. Each building block will be validated in a relevant environment before being integrated for a final demonstration

     3. IDENTIFY AND CONSIDER A WIDE SCOPE OF HIGH-TRL ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS FOR ACTUATORS & SENSORS

In the recent years, many initiatives for on-orbit servicing have been addressed with technologies development enabling berthing and docking. For instance, the docking with ISS involves highly interesting technologies for satellite capture. US developments performed on RSGS (SSL) and the MEV (OATK) also developed high-TRL actuators and sensors, which could accelerate the EU capability to deploy a system in a short term. For this reason, EROSS will work on a group of alternative solutions securing future developments by analyzing:

  • Mating technologies for mechanical, electrical and fluid transfer of data , power and fluid
  • TASI novel low-cost latching system for orbital transfer of collaborative targets
  • MDA FREND arm used on RSGS: strong & agile arm for multiple types of targets
  • Multi-purpose end-effectors and grippers: PIAP Space’s novel suite for generic operations with multiple targets
  • SODERN ARAMIS: extension of this cutting-edge sensor to estimate the relative pose of a non-cooperative target based on the demonstration with the LIRIS experiment on the cooperative ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle)

    4. ASSESS SERVICING AND DEORBITATION CAPABILITIES WITH A COLLABORATIVE AND PREPARED SATELLITE

Based on the compendium, EROSS objectives enable an optimal servicing capability for specially tuned satellite missions with servicing enablers such as berthing interface, visual markers and “plug n’play” interfaces. Servicing also addresses deorbiting assurance and in-orbit transfer for which the transfer of heavy force & torque will be assessed for EROSS system. EROSS will thus assess servicing and deorbitation capabilities with a cooperative and prepared satellite by extensive simulation campaigns. EROSS will thus include, at simulation level, an alternative mating interface for direct docking derived from the International Berthing and Docking Mechanism (IBDM) and developed by the Belgium company QinetiQ Space (QS): The Satellite Docking System (SDS) and the Latching Locking Mecanism (LLM) developed by Thales Alenia Space in Italy. The SDS advantage is that it interfaces with the Launcher Adaptor Ring therefore the client satellite does not require to be collaborative. For a target subject to low tumble, the coordinated control between the base and the SDS should enable to reach the SDS capabilities to capture within the boundaries of 0.2 °/s and 4°, this will be assessed with the simulations.

EROSS project objective is to develop a whole engineering solution to enable the autonomous realization of servicing tasks in orbit. The complexity involved in such missions pushes to consider space robotics solutions that requires key robotic building blocks to be designed, developed, integrated and validated in order to demonstrate an in-orbit servicing mission.

Partners

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The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation  Programme under Grant Agreement No 821904