MOSAR: MOdular Spacecraft Assembly and Reconfiguration
Shifting the spacecraft design paradigm
Existing commercial satellites and space platforms are traditionally the result of a highly customized monolithic design with very limited or no capability of servicing and maintenance. This approach has been followed in the past due to main constraints of mass and launch costs optimizations. From this heritage, the number of ageing satellites is growing rapidly. There is currently no available technology, and as a result typically no plan for maintenance and the ageing satellites are simply dismissed and left in orbit as a space debris.
Beside the evident space sustainability issues, this also creates constraints on space economy actors. Their missions, supply chain organization and commercial planning need to be carefully planned in advance.
Offering cost effective, high performing, reliable, scalable and flexible solutions will be essential for the European space industry to spearhead strategic segments of future commercial space industry. The development of novel, European technologies that would allow standardizing satellites components, facilitating their assembly, reducing time between customer’s orders and commissioning in space, repairing and upgrading components directly in orbit, would provide extremely valuable competitive assets to establish European leadership in a number of key commercial space segments.
The HORIZON 2020 EU-funded MOSAR initiative will aim to raise the degree of modularity of space systems by an order of magnitude with respect to current space industry standards. It would represent the beginning of a new era in space missions, in which the entire spacecraft could be optimized to fulfill mission requirements in a much more efficient and dynamic way.
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.