In-orbit servicing and in-orbit manufacturing operations are becoming increasingly important in todays and future space applications. Almost all potential applications require the ability to interact with robotic systems. Therefore, extensive R&D activities have been advanced in Germany, Europe and internationally in recent years to develop compact, lightweight and general-purpose manipulator arms for orbital use (e.g. ROKVISS, CAESAR, DEXARM, MadeIn-Space, PIAP). As a result, the architectural concepts and underlying technologies for these systems are at an advanced stage of development.Tools that can be attached to the end effector of manipulators and operated to perform the actual contact operations such as gripping, screwing, riveting are usually less generic and designed for specific operations, which limits their use on individual missions.
The subject of this project is the definition and development of an intelligent end effector for orbital robotic systems with manipulation capability. The basis for this development is the Multi-Purpose-Tool (MPT) tool architecture of AIRBUS Defence and Space GmbH (ADS). Core of this architecture is the separation of the tools into a generic propulsion and avionics module, as well as into the mission- and application-specific tool attachments. This separation enables the development of new tools for specific technological operations in a shorter time and with a lower budget.
At DFKI, STARLIT will develop and evaluate robotic gripping tool attachments to enable robotic units to handle and manufacture large structures, such as antenna segments, in orbit. For this purpose, the development of a proof-of-concept mechanism and its partial qualification in the range of TRL 3-5 is targeted within one year. The tool development is taking place along the lines of the PERIOD project, which is part of the European Union's Horizon 2020 space research cluster for space robotics technology funding.
Airbus Defence and Space in Bremen ist das Europäische Kompetenzzentrum für astronautische Raumfahrt, Trägerraketen und Weltraumrobotik. Der traditionsreiche Standort im Norden Deutschlands ist mit seinen rund 1.700 hochqualifizierten Mitarbeitern verantwortlich für wesentliche Beiträge Europas zur Raumfahrt sowie für die Rumpffertigung des Millitärtransporters A400M.