21, June 2022

ESA Open Invitation to Tender: 1-11386
Open Date: 09/06/2022 16:36 CEST
Closing Date: 02/09/2022 13:00 CEST

To develop the robot system to aid testing of deployment of spacecraft appendages by weight offloading. Spacecraft make use of sizeable number of deploy-able appendages such as solar arrays, sensor booms, antennas, antenna reflectors and antenna yokes. All these devices have to undergo functional tests on ground. However, these appendages are designed for deployment in space and hence in zero gravity. So deployment on ground can only be performed with mechanical ground support equipment (MGSE) that can offload the appendages from most forces or torques exerted by gravity. Offloading devices are in general passive, accommodating the motion of the appendage while relieving the forces on the vertical axis by cable attachments on movable hanging points. Different typologies are in use, for example linear rails are used for solar arrays and balloons for booms. These systems while providing the gross behaviour needed, present problems related to the parasitic forces created by pendulum effects and by friction or drag. Modern robotics and sensing technology allow replacing the passive systems with robots who can sense forces on the attachment points and precisely move zeroing the parasitic forces. This activity aims at developing and breadboarding a robot system to aid testing of deployment of spacecraft appendages by weight offloading. The possibility to implement elements of such system under vacuum thermal conditions shall also be studied and critical technologies tested in the relevant environment.This activity encompasses the following tasks :- Definition of use cases- Definition and sizing of required capabilities- State of the art in terrestrial offloading systems- Definition and design of breadboard- Demonstration of benefits through testing

Directorate: Directorate of Tech, Eng. Quality
Estabilishment: ESTEC
ECOS Required: No
Classified: No
Price Range: > 500 KEURO
Authorised Contact Person: Gian Lorenzo Casini
Initiating Service: TEC-MMA
IP Measure: N/A
Prog. Reference: E/0901-01 – Technology Developme
Tender Type: Open Competition
Technology Keywords: 13-A-II-Orbital Systems
Products Keywords: 4-E-1-b-Mechanical Ground Support Equipment (MGSE) (Containers, stands, handling equipment, mechanical integration tools, protection devices)

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