Use case 2.1: Validation of space GNC systems

Platform-art© is the dynamic testbed from GMV Aerospace and Defence for supporting and enhancing the validation of space guidance, navigation and control technologies and related metrology equipment with real air-to-air metrology dynamic stimulation. It allows the use of sensor measurements in open and closed loop, through the recreation of relative (full or scaled) trajectory and attitude profile by using robotic arms. Sensors installed on top of the robot end-effectors experience the same relative kinematics and are subjected to most of the significant space effects, such as illumination and perturbations. Representative space real-time avionics are included in the standard setup. Platform-art© therefore allows reaching on ground the highest possible maturity for space GNC technologies and equipment and, therefore, derisk significantly their later application in operational missions (most of them, single shoot missions with low probability to be repeated or duplicated in case of problems). It can also be used for testing GNC sensors and software.

One typical use of platform-art© is the simulation of activities that imply contact between space vehicles. In order to simulate the dynamic behavior of the vehicles, a mockup of the space vehicle is installed in an industrial manipulator (simulating the target) and a gripper mechanism is installed in another similar manipulator (simulating the active, chaser vehicle). In these applications a controller capable of implementing 6-axis force control in the gripper (which is equipped with a 6-axis load-cell) is required.

I-MECH building blocks related to high-performance servo drives, multivariable control and other advanced control strategies will be validated on the Platform-art© hardware to improve accuracy of the control of the robotic arms and increase flexibility of the motion controller for new testing scenarios.