Mission and System Design for EROSS project: the European Robotic Orbital Support Services

Corresponding Authors: Sabrina Andiappanea, Gautier Duranda, Vincent Dubanchet


The European Robotic Orbital Support Services (EROSS) project aims at developing and integrating the key European robotic building blocks to demonstrate and enable an autonomous solution for performing servicing tasks in orbit and many future rendezvous missions.EROSS intends to assess and demonstrate the capability of the on-orbit servicing spacecraft to perform medium and close-range rendezvous, to grasp, capture and manipulate the satellite to be serviced. This latter is considered prepared and collaborative as it is designed with specific features to ease the capture phase and to perform servicing operations such as refuelling and payload transfer or replacement.The project embeds key European Technologies by leveraging on actuators, sensors, software frameworks and algorithms developed in previous European Projects. EROSS focuses on boosting the maturity of these key building blocks and increasing their functionalities and performances in a synergetic way to enable their fast implementation on a space mission.The current paper aims at presenting the mission scenario and the overall system design for both the servicer and the serviced satellites for such collaborative rendezvous missions. The different key building blocks will also be introduced, such as the sensors, the capture and docking interfaces, and the Guidance Navigation Control (GNC) subsystem of the servicer.The mission definition and trade-off are presented followed by the system design and the building blocks to be implemented and integrated for the overall solution at a functional level for the demonstration of the main tasks foreseen: rendezvous, capture, refuelling, and payload replacement.

This project led by Thales Alenia Space in France brings together the following companies throughout Europe: GMV (Spain), National Technical University of Athens (Greece), PIAP Space (Poland), SENER (Spain), SINTEF AS (Norway), SODERN (France), Space Application Services (Belgium), Thales Alenia Space entities (Italy and UK), with support from MDA (Canada) and QinetiQ (Belgium).

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Authors (tentative): Iosif S. Paraskevas, Georgios Rekleitis, Kostas Nanos, Olga Christidou, Sabrina Andiappane, Evangelos Papadopoulos


A safe and secure space environment is a requirement for all current and future space activities. To contribute to space sustainability, some Agencies and Governments have established or adopted policies to mitigate space debris creation. As a consequence, a new generation of services, namely the On-Orbit Services (OOS), have been envisioned, which indicatively include the replacement of malfunctioned components (using Orbital Replacements Units ORUs), refueling of fuel-depleted satellites, and Active Debris Removal (ADR). To this end, the Control Systems Lab (CSL) in coordination with Thales Alenia Space in France (TASF) implements three key projects.


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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