24/7 Space News
TECH SPACE
GMV tests robot for assembly and maintenance of structures in Earth orbit
MIRROR's diverse capabilities make it an exceedingly versatile system, poised to usher in new applications that have piqued the interest of leading space agencies and the aerospace industry. Until recently, these applications remained unattainable, both from a technical and economic perspective. One such application involves generating electricity in orbit via photovoltaic solar panels for terrestrial use.
GMV tests robot for assembly and maintenance of structures in Earth orbit
by Staff Writers
Madrid, Spain (SPX) Sep 15, 2023

Multinational technology company GMV has successfully concluded ground validation tests for a space robot designed to assemble structures in Earth's orbit as part of the European Space Agency's (ESA) MIRROR project (Multi-arm Installation Robot for Readying ORUS and Reflectors). These tests were conducted at GMV's facilities in Tres Cantos, Madrid, in the Platform-art robotic laboratory, where conditions resembling those on future space missions are simulated.

Space robotics has been identified by leading European and global space entities as a pivotal technology for the future of the industry. Both the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission (EC) are funding numerous initiatives related to orbital robotic technology, with a vision of establishing an ecosystem of rockets, orbital logistics, and complex robotic systems. This ecosystem aims to facilitate a long-term clean and sustainable presence in space and enable subsequent space exploitation.

GMV develops systems and technology for various space applications, including in-orbit servicing. For instance, they design robotic systems that can be used for repairing, maintaining, enhancing, or refueling satellites in space to extend their operational lifespan. They can also be used for assembling large-scale orbital platforms such as antennas, spacebased solar arrays, and telescopes. Additionally, they can contribute to removing satellites at the end of their operational life, mitigating the accumulation of hazardous space debris around Earth.

In this context, as part of the MIRROR project led by GMV for ESA, GMV has developed and tested a next-generation robotic platform. This autonomous robot is equipped with three arms, which it utilizes for both manipulating and assembling structural modules, as well as for traversing the structure it is assembling. Its three arms allow the robot to move using two of them while employing the third one to transport modules to their assembly points.

This unique capability enables it to assemble large structures of any size. To undertake these operations, MIRROR is equipped with a precise vision system consisting of cameras installed near the grippers on each of its arms, and image processing algorithms. In addition to handling modules and moving around, its three arms enable it to receive power, communicate, and use assembly tools (similar to screwdrivers, for example).

MIRROR's diverse capabilities make it an exceedingly versatile system, poised to usher in new applications that have piqued the interest of leading space agencies and the aerospace industry. Until recently, these applications remained unattainable, both from a technical and economic perspective. One such application involves generating electricity in orbit via photovoltaic solar panels for terrestrial use.

These stations would be approximately one kilometer in size, ensuring continuous electricity production around the clock, with the power transmitted to a large ground-based receiving antenna through microwave technology.

Another highly interesting application involves large-scale telescopes for cosmic research, with capabilities significantly enhanced when scaled up to sizes of tens of meters. Further growing interest lies in establishing extensive orbital platforms where telecommunications operators can conveniently install and maintain their equipment.

In the initial phase of the MIRROR project, key features of the structure to be assembled (initially, a telescope reflector) were defined, along with the functional requirements for its components, operational criteria, and testing parameters.

Subsequently, GMV, in collaboration with companies such as the Italian LEONARDO, designed the MIRROR robot, capable of meeting the specified requirements, especially regarding mobility, module transportation capacity, and assembly precision.

Achieving these required advancements in all subsystems involved, including actuators, power systems, and grippers, along with extensive simulations to confirm the robot's ability to handle modules of substantial size (approximately 1.2 meters). GMV also developed an advanced semi-autonomous control subsystem with the aim of automating the entire assembly process.

The primary goal of this control system is to enable the robot to move and assemble modules despite uncertainties in the gripping points' positions, and to even detect and recover from any potential failures. The project also encompasses models of the structure to be assembled for testing purposes, as well as a control center that enables various levels of autonomy, ranging from remote control to issuing autonomous commands, such as specifying the assembly of a module at a particular location on the structure.

At present, GMV has successfully concluded validation tests using the demonstrator in its robotic laboratory, Platform-art, where lighting conditions resembling those in orbit are simulated. This laboratory is also equipped to partially replicate conditions of weightlessness. These tests have successfully proven the concept's viability, setting the stage for the next development phase aimed at demonstrating these same operations in real tests in Earth's orbit.

In addition to the MIRROR project, GMV is leading other space robotics projects as part of the ESA, such as the European Moon Rover System, RAPID, or the European Commission's PERASPERA, which involves the development of the operating system for space robot control (ESROCOS project) and autonomy or artificial intelligence systems (ERGO project).

Related Links
GMV
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters
Tweet

RELATED CONTENT
The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
TECH SPACE
Terran Orbital expands manufacturing at Irvine plant
Boca Raton FL (SPX) Sep 12, 2023
Terran Orbital (NYSE: LLAP) has announced the official opening of a new 60,000-square-foot satellite manufacturing space adding to its existing manufacturing capability. With this previously announced addition, the total size of the manufacturing complex in Irvine has expanded to approximately 98,000 square feet. This new addition enables Terran Orbital to significantly boost satellite production, increasing it from an estimated 10 satellites per month to more than 20 per month. This expansion inc ... read more

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
TECH SPACE
Kombucha: Ally for Moon and Mars

Virgin Galactic notches fourth spaceflight in four months

Artificial star

China continues to make strides in space breeding technique

TECH SPACE
Mini space thruster that runs on water

Rocket Lab signs deal with Leidos to launch 4 HASTE missions

The Vostochny cosmodrome: symbol of Moscow's struggling space sector

Musk biography describes troubled tycoon driven by demons

TECH SPACE
Another Martian Weekend" Sols 3943-3945

Sols 3936-3939: Double the Fun

China publishes new datasets obtained by Mars, lunar probes

NASA's completes Oxygen-Generating Experiment MOXIE

TECH SPACE
Tianzhou 5 spacecraft burns up on Earth reentry

Crew of Shenzhou XV mission honored for six-month space odyssey

China solicits names for manned lunar exploration vehicles

From rice to quantum gas: China's targets pioneering space research

TECH SPACE
DISA and US Space Force award Iridium PLEO satellite-based services contract

Telesat, SpaceX announce agreement to launch satellites

Intelsat, Aalyria sign deal to advance multi-orbit connectivity

Vodafone and Amazon's Project Kuiper to extend connectivity in Africa and Europe

TECH SPACE
GMV tests robot for assembly and maintenance of structures in Earth orbit

Sidus contracts with HEO for non-Earth imaging payload data services

Terran Orbital expands manufacturing at Irvine plant

Apple to update iPhone 12 in France over radiation

TECH SPACE
On the road to spotting alien life

Scientists detect and validate the longest-period exoplanet found with TESS

New giant planet evidence of possible planetary collisions

Hot Jupiter blows its top

TECH SPACE
Possible existence of Earth-like planet predicted in Outskirts of Solar System

SwRI will lead Hubble, Webb observations of Io, Jupiter's volcanic moon

In the service of planetary science, astrophysics and heliophysics

Mysterious Neptune dark spot detected from Earth for the first time

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


ADVERTISEMENT



The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.