Campaign of space robotics trials under the EC´s SRC program

Since mid-September GMV has been taking part in the final field tests of the projects included under the European Commission’s (H2020) Strategic Research Cluster (SRC) programme. These tests are due to run until December 15.

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The main aim of the space robotics SRC is to create, within the timeframe of 2020-2030, the necessary tools for consolidating the technical maturity of robotics systems for in-orbit-servicing and planetary-exploration missions. The PERASPERA project which is providing the roadmap and technical supervision of the programme, funded under the Research and Innovation Programme, Horizon 2020 (H2020), is being coordinated by the European Space Agency (ESA); the partners are the Italian Space Agency (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana: ASI), Spain’s Industrial Technology Development Center (Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial: CDTI), the French Space Studies Center (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales: CNES), the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt: DLR) and the UK Space Agency (UKSA).

Initial SRC activities have addressed designing, manufacturing and testing of reliable and high-performance common robotic building blocks (through six operational grants-OGs) for operation in space environments (orbital and/or planetary). In the last and most challenging phases of the first Cluster call, the six technology building blocks are being tested to serve as the basis for future orbital and planetary missions. 

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GMV is leading 3 of these technology building blocks: the European Space Robotics Control and Operating System-OG1 (ESROCOS), centering on the creation of operational software capable of controlling a space robotics system in all mission phases; the European Robotics Goal-Oriented Autonomous Controller-OG2 (ERGO), the block designed to develop the autonomy system for planning, scheduling and overseeing the execution of elementary activities of robotics systems; and Facilities for Testing Orbital and Surface Robotics Building Blocks-OG6 (FACILITATORS), for providing the orbital and planetary scenarios for the rest of the projects, including the preparation of facilities for validation of robotics systems and the organization of field testing campaigns.

In September the Test Readiness Reviews (TRR) of the three projects were conducted; this marked the completion of the software-development and -integration activities and the start of the field test campaign led by the FACILITATORS project, which will validate the framework of the projects in scenarios representative of space robotics.

Until mid-December the desert of Morocco, as a Mars-like terrain, will be hosting the terrestrial validation tests of the program’s robotics technology.

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Space Robotics trials in the Sahara desert