SRC Operational Grants

List of SRC Operational Grants COMPET-4-2016

(OG1) European Space Robot Control Operating System: ESROCOS

The ESROCOS activity is devoted to the design of a Robot Control Operating Software (RCOS) that can provide adequate features and performance with space-grade Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety (RAMS) properties. The goal of the ESROCOS proposal is to provide an open source framework which can assist in the generation of flight software for space robots. By providing an open standard which can be used by research labs and industry, it is expected that the elevation of TRL levels can be made more efficient, and vendor lock-in through proprietary environments can be reduced.
Current state-of-the-art robotic frameworks are already addressing some of these key aspects, but mostly fail to deliver the degree of quality expected in the space environment. Terrestrial RCOS developed by industrial robot companies (e.g. VxWorks, PikeOS) are not usable for space robotics because their Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforce the vendor’s dependency on space development. Other open-source frameworks do not have sufficient RAMS properties for its use in space missions.
The ESROCOS objectives are to:
1. Develop a Space-oriented RCOS including space-grade RAMS attributes, formal verification and qualification of industrial drivers.
2. Integrate advanced modelling technologies, separating the model from the platform
3. Focus on the space robotics community, with requirements coming from actors leading robotics missions
4. Allow integration of complex robotics applications by including the Time and Space partitioning approach
5. Avoid vendor-lock in situations by delivering an open-source solution
6. Leverage on existing assets, such as already existing frameworks properly extended, mature toolsets and libraries)
7. Ease the development of robotics systems by providing a solution interoperable with other robotics frameworks (e.g.
Rock/ROS third-party libraries and visualizers/simulator)
8. Cross-pollinate with non-space solutions and applications



European Robotic goal-oriented autonomous COntroller (ERGO) The specific objective of ERGO is thaen to deliver the most advanced but flexible space autonomous framework/system suitable for single and/or collaborative space robotic means/missions (orbital and surface rovers) demanding robust operations with adaptable levels of autonomy.
Due to the intrinsic similarities of addressed scenarios, especially for what concerns surface applications, ERGO has to be/and has been thought so to be applicable to terrestrial robotic applications requiring high level of autonomy.
In order to achieve this challenging objective, the ERGO team has been settled such to guarantee strong background both in robotics in general and operational autonomous space robotic missions (GMV, ADS, SciSys), as well as state of the art expertise in goal oriented autonomy (GMV), planning (King College, University of Basel, GMV), guidance and navigation for robotic applications (GMV, ADS, SciSys), formal validation and verification (UGA-UGA), on-board critical software design and development (GMV, Ellidiss).


(OG3) Infusing Data Fusion in Space Robotics: InFuse

InFuse aims to develop very essential data fusion capabilities (aka. Common Data Fusion Framework, or CDFF) that will serve in the context of many space robotics applications, on planetary surface as well as in orbit or other microgravity environments. The InFuse CDFF will be developed relying on the expertise of partners having tangible experience with a wide range of sensors data processing (Perception and Navigation related) and a wide range of robotic applications – both in space and terrestrial conditions.
InFuse makes provision for convenient and effective articulation with other SRC common building blocks – in particular: OG1 (RCOS), OG2 (autonomy framework) and OG4 (sensors suite). The solution proposed in InFuse to wrap and handle data fusion technologies and their produced data will make easy and effective their adoption by a wide range of users, both among the SRC stakeholders and in the wider space robotics community.
In particular, InFuse will not only provide access to an extensive set of robust data fusion capabilities, applicable both On-Orbit and Planetary scenarios, but will also include a data product management component allowing to retrieve and request conveniently (on-demand) relevant data such as maps, models of the environment or objects, possibly science data, etc.

OG3 1

(OG4) Integrated 3D Sensors suite: I3DS

The I3DS platform (Integrated 3D sensors) is a generic and modular system answering the needs of near-future space exploration missions in terms of exteroceptive and proprioceptive sensors with integrated pre-processing and data concentration functions. It consists in state-of-the art sensors and illumination devices integrated in a coherent architecture as inter-changeable building blocks and targeting a vast range of missions such as interplanetary missions,
formation flying missions, non-cooperative target capture such as debris removal missions, cooperative rendezvous: servicing & spacetugs, landers, rovers, etc…
The architecture of I3DS enables pushing the vision sensors as part of future exploration satellite platforms standard GNC units. It enables computing navigation solutions with on-board computers to be available for post-2020 missions autonomously from Ground. To do so, the data throughput provided by the sensors is pre-processed (filtering, compression, correction of distortions) by dedicated boards within I3DS. I3DS provides also an abstraction of the many electrical interfaces of the sensors by centralising the data flux using dedicated communication nodes. The mechanical interface is also simplified through the integration of the different sensors and boards in an integrated module.
The I3DS design enables easy and low-cost configurations and reconfigurations of a robotic platform for any mission using the modular sensors. The I3DS project intends to develop autonomous robotic platforms to achieve a large scope of spatial mission. Ultimately, three demonstrators will be tested in laboratory, thanks to appropriate tests benches and infrastructures in order to demonstrate the INSES concept modularity and performances.


(OG5) Standard Interface for Robotic Manipulation of Payloads in Future Space Missions: SIROM

The main objective is to develop a standard interface that considers a set of connections that allow coupling of payload to manipulators and payload to other payload.
The realization of a modular reconfigurable system depends, among other things, on interfaces, that includes mechanical interfaces connecting the blocks to one other, electrical interface for power transmission, thermal interfaces for heat regulation and interfaces to transmit data throughout the satellite.
Multi–‐functional “Intelligent” interface will be considered to interconnect building blocks and also to connect to the satellite with a servicer.
The standard interface will require standardization and modularization of the different components in an integrated form (where mechanical, thermal, electrical, data connections are combined) or a separated form. The standard interface shall allow building up large clusters of modules. APMs are considered for demonstration, validation and verification of all properties of the standard interface. An end-effector for a robotic manipulator will be designed according to the layout of the standard interface.
The Modular Interface will take into account long duration missions, no logistics support and missions composed of multiple payloads and architectures. Main benefits:
– Improve operational capacity
– Reduced logistics with common and modular spares
– Common maintenance standards
– IF architecture flexibility: common infrastructure needed to support the modular design
– Mission flexibility (configuration changes)
– Standardizes mechanical, data, electrical, thermal Interfaces
– Keep existing standards where applicable
– Introduce in the design aspects related to interchangeability and interoperability
The standard interfaces will allow to develop the SRC end goals. The output of this development will address the Future Low–‐cost EXchangeable/EXpandable/EXtendable SATellite, which targets the demonstration of robotics servicing technology.


(OG6) Facilities for testing orbital and surface robotics building blocks: FACILITATORS

The FACILITATORS goals are:
-To Enable the highest possible level of validation of the common building blocks (developed by concurring operational grants) in the most relevant environment by adapting and providing the best available European test facilities, as well as
-To Guarantee coherence among the different test facilities and among the building blocks by establishing common implementation/validation scenarios (to be reproduced during ground testing) and common interfaces with the test facilities.
More concretely, in order to achieve such goals, the objectives of our project are to:
1. Analyse and identify the validation needs of each building block
2. Identify and adapt the already-existing top-notch European test platforms that will form a “federation of facilities” which will host the validation tests of ALL building blocks in BOTH demonstration scenarios
3. Characterize the facilities and provide representative datasets to support the design and development of the
building blocks, carried out by concurring operational grants (OGs)
4. Ensure coherence among the different building blocks by agreeing on common demonstration scenarios that will be carried out within the federation of facilities, as well as by preparing common interfaces in coordination with the SRC board and the other parallel OGs
5. Provide easy access to the identified facilities, and ensure their availability when the building blocks will be tested
6. Assist the building blocks validation tests’ execution by providing monitoring and measuring means, as well as giving on-site support.
The “Federation of Facilities” concept lies in a network of coordinated, complementary and exchangeable state-of-theart facilities across Europe, identified, made available to the SRC, adapted and (if needed) enhanced for the scope of:
-Validating the building blocks developed in the other parallel operational grants and
-Providing regulated services to the space robotics community beyond this project.


SRC OG 7-11

OG7- EROSS (European Robotic Orbital Support Services)

Logo EROSS 300x100

EROSS (European Robotic Orbital Support Services) objective is to demonstrate the European solutions for the Servicers and the Serviced LEO/GEO satellites, enabling a large range of efficient and safe orbital support services. The project will assess and demonstrate the capability of the on-orbit servicing spacecraft (servicer) to perform rendezvous, capturing, grasping, berthing and manipulating of a collaborative client satellite provisioned for servicing operations including refuelling and payload transfer/replacement.

EROSS embeds key European Technologies by leveraging on actuators, sensors, software frameworks and algorithms developed in previous European Projects. EROSS boosts the maturity of these key building blocks and increases their functionalities and performance in a coherent work programme targeting fast and practical deployment of the developed solutions in space. The consortium went into great details in the EROSS concept and the technical operational plan to manage perfectly the risks and complexity of development of such a large system.

Following EROSS, TAS plans to commercialize its Multi-Purpose Servicer the LEO&GEO servicing business, pulling with him the project’s technology providers. Besides, most partners will address other short-term space/non-space markets, such as Space Exploration & Science and factory automation (sensors, robots).

The project success relies on a highly skilled and experienced consortium involving all the leaders of previous SRC Operational Grants. EROSS involves 11 partners from 8 countries over 24 months and a budget of 3,9M€. As Operational Grant n°7, EROSS will be part of the Strategic Research Cluster (SRC) on Space Robotics.


List of partners and contributions:

TASF Coordinator, User requirements & System Engineering for all satellite missions, I3DS sensors suite (OG4), GNC architect, Platform Control Algorithms, Contribution by MDA for robotic design and QINETIQ space for Satellite Docking System based on the IBDM,
GMV ESROCOS (OG1), ERGO (OG2), ASSIST refuelling interface device, orbital test facility support/provision all along the EROSS phases.
NTUA Chaser Coordinated Control, Arm Compliance Control and Software Implementation for GNC Software Integration, Space Emulator facility (COMRADE)
PIAP Space Contact sensors (tactile and F/T sensors – OG4), Grippers designs for satellite servicing (ADRexp, LAR Gripper), hardware integration (e.g. within OG4), and for EROSS, contact real time simulations (COMRADE).
SENER Procurement of the SIROM interface for module replacement demonstration.
SINTEF Responsible of EROSS software, I3DS development (OG4) and I3DS product maintainer, Development of GNC algorithms in close-proximity situation, experience on embedded processing strengthened during I3DS OG4 project, visual-based background to use for robotic arm visual servoing
SODERN Demonstration of a vision-based smart rendezvous sensor (ARAMIS) having the ability to deliver 6 DoF relative pose from natural images of a target in the infrared and visible bands.
SpaceApps Responsible for the customization and deployment of the OG3/InFuse framework, with a focus on robust state estimation and visual servoing. Responsible for compliance control mode of the manipulator. Support to SIROM interfaces acquisition (control / electronics).).
TASI Provider of the Latching Locking Mechanisms and market analysis
TASUK Assessment of the results of the avionics ICU hardware development and identify the evolution needs for the route to Space. Avionics responsible.



The autonomous assembly of large structures in space is a key challenge in future missions that will necessitate structures too large to be self-deployed as a single piece. The James Webb Space Telescope has reached this limit and the next generation telescope expected by astronomers, like the High Definition Space Telescope, will therefore require new assembly technologies, in particular autonomous robots. The need for large structures in space goes beyond telescopes and concerns also solar arrays for power plants, light sails to reach outermost regions of the solar system or heat shields to land on Mars.

The PULSAR overall concept aims to build upon this heritage of missions and create a fully autonomous, on-orbit robotic assembly system. Its demonstration use-case is the high precision assembly, using a robotic arm, of a set of mirror tiles in order to build the very large primary mirror of a next-generation space telescope. In this case, the robotic assembly system is a key enabling factor for the mission, as the sheer size of the mirror would not have allowed for a traditional stow and deploy launch configuration.



OG9-MOSAR (MOdular Spacecraft Assembly and Reconfiguration)

mosar logo

MOSAR: Modular and Re-Configurable Spacecraft

The Horizon 2020 EU-funded MOSAR will aim at developing a ground demonstrator for on-orbit modular and reconfigurable satellites. The project targets to integrate and demonstrate technologies required to enable a fundamental shift of paradigm in designing and deploying satellites in future space missions. That will include:

  • A set of re-usable spacecraft modules as part of a global eco-system. Each individual module will be dedicated to a specific function as control, power, thermal management, sensors. Once assembled, they will allow the full functionality of the spacecraft
  • A repositionable symmetric walking robotic manipulator allowing to capture, manipulate and position spacecraft modules, while being able to reposition itself on the spacecraft elements or directly on the modules
  • Standards robotics interfaces, providing mechanical, data, power and thermal transfer for interconnection between the modules, spacecraft and walking manipulator
  • A functional engineering simulation environment and design tool, offering assistance for modules design, system configuration and operation planning, with the support of multi-physics engine

As part of the EU Strategic Research Cluster in Space Robotics, MOSAR will build on and consolidate technological results of previous projects of PERASPERA and its operational grants (


logo ADE

ADE, Autonomous Decision Making in Very Long Traverse, refers to the 10th Operational Grant (OG10) of the Compendium of SRC activities (for call 2-topic SPACE-12-TEC-2018) within the H2020-SPACE-2018-2020 call.

The challenge of ADE/OG10 is to demonstrate on a planetary analogue environment the system needed to realize with high reliability a planetary very long traverse capabilities (kilometers per sol) with a rover while: autonomously take decisions required to progress in nominal conditions and/or in presence of conflicting goals; guarantee consistent data detection while avoiding un-detection of interesting data along mission path; handling rover on-board resources both in nominal or under contingencies events; allow fast reaction while reduce mission risks and seize opportunities of data collection in a MSR scenario

ADE Web:



Short description of the project

PRO-ACT, aims to realize an implementation and demonstration of multi-robot collaborative planning and manipulation capabilities in a lunar construction context, relying on, extending and integrating the outcomes of PERASPERA ooperational grants (OGs). Towards this objective, the PRO-ACT project purposes to demonstrate a novel approach of deploying multiple robots, Robot Working Agents (RWA), towards achieving common goals by cooperative goal decomposition, collaborative mission planning and manipulation for transport and assembly of supporting infrastructure. The focus is on (1) enabling assembly of an ISRU plant on the moon as precursor to human settlement and (2) partial assembly of a mobile gantry (3) Re-use and integration of existing software and hardware robotics building blocks to realize functional RWAs.

The key robotic elements, namely the rover mobile rover IBIS, the six-legged walking robot Mantis and a mobile gantry are outlined according to the corresponding mission architecture. The ISRU plant is sized to be representative of a future lunar mission, with grasping points to assist robotic manipulation capabilities and considering the effects of reduced lunar gravity. Supporting research objective includes developing robust multi-robot cooperation capabilities allowing joint interventions (including navigation in close vicinity and joint manipulation actions) in mixed structured / unstructured environment. Making the capabilities available within a CREW (Cooperative Robotics for Enhanced Workforce) module, consisting of integrated components from multi-agent mission planners, sensor fusion for perception, mapping and localization, including cooperative SLAM.


List of partners and contributions:

Partner Country Role
Space Applications Services BE Project Coordinator, Infuse adaptation, HOTDOCK adaptation, system design and integration, communications, mission control and simulation
DFKI DE Mantis HW adaptations, Simulation, mission control, mobility and manipulator control SW, Integration of CREW
PIAP PL Ibis HW adaptations, locomotion and manipulator control SW, Exploitation, Integration of CREW
GMV ES Design and support for ESROCOS functional layer for robots and ERGO adaptation for CREW
UCITY UK Cooperative SLAM, integration with CREW , Dissemination
LAAS-CNRS FR Cooperative manipulation – planning and control, integration with CREW
Thales Alenia Space UK Compact I3DS ICU adaptation, I3DS sensors, HW acceleration
AVS ES Modular mobile gantry, Control of 3D printing head, integration of CREW
La Palma Research Center ES Requirement analysis, analog site access and preparation, geological end user