SENER Aeroespacial has performed the preliminary validation test of the five SIROM units (Standard Interface for RObotic Manipulation) that will be used in the framework of the European project EROSS (European Robotic Orbital Support Services, Grant Agreement Nº 821904). With this new achievement, a total of 13 SIROM interfaces have been manufactured and tested since its initiating project in 2016, OG5-SIROM Grant Agreement Nº 730035.
SIROM is a robotic interface developed by SENER Aeroespacial that can be used for on-orbit and planetary applications, enabling the interconnection of payloads-to-spacecrafts, payloads-to-manipulators and payloads-to-payloads. The technology developed is a 4-in-1 integrated electro-mechanism combining mechanical, data, electrical and thermal connectivity in a single envelope. As a key building block, SIROM brings a reliable and standard solution for robotic operations, in a similar manner as a “space USB”.
The European Commission through H2020 with PERASPERA (Programme Support Activity under H2020 Space “COMPET-4-2014: Space Robotics Technologies“) has defined as main objective to deliver, within the 2023/2027 timeframe, key enabling technologies and demonstrate autonomous robotic systems for on-orbit satellite servicing and planetary exploration. OG5-SIROM project started in 2016, framed under PERASPERA, and ended in 2019 with a successful on-orbit servicing demonstration scenario in Airbus DS (Bremen) and DLR (German Aerospace Center) consisting of several SIROM units, two payload modules and a robotic manipulator.
Now inside EROSS H2020 (PERASPERA framework), SENER Aeroespacial has developed SIROM 2.0 introducing several design optimizations and upgrades. EROSS consortium is formed by Thales Alenia Space (project coordinator), SENER Aeroespacial, GMV, NTUA (National Technical University of Athens), PIAP Space, SINTEF, SODERN and Space Applications. The objective is to demonstrate the European solutions for the Servicers and the Serviced LEO/GEO satellites, enabling a large range of efficient and safe orbital support services.
The major change for SIROM 2.0 is the upgrade of the previous breadboard electronics towards flight proof electronics inside the mechanics envelope, greatly reducing and simplifying external interfaces. Additionally, due to new requirements the fluid interface has been removed, and the electrical and data connectors have been replaced by pogo pins and pads which offer a great advantage in terms of layout, volume and connection forces.
The preliminary validation tests of the five SIROM units for EROSS consisted in the verification of the mechanical subassembly, the driver and power electronic modules. Also, the full integrated mechanisms have been functionally tested in stand-alone configurations as well as interacting with other SIROM interfaces checking the correct data and electrical communication links. Finally, a representative test of payload exchange between satellites has been carried out at SENER Aeroespacial facilities using a UR10 robot and performing several maneuvers.
In March-April 2021, EROSS final test at GMV will bring together previous PERASPERA’s Strategic Research Cluster (SRC) outcomes (ESROCOS, ERGO, InFUSE, I3DS and SIROM), mating interfaces such as multipurpose gripper for capture, ASSIST for docking and refueling, as well as specific GNC architecture and algorithms to enable the rendezvous and robotic operations.
Besides, SENER Aeroespacial has developed a QM (Qualification Model) of SIROM 2.0 that is going to be tested in early 2021 in order to increase the current TRL 4 (Technology Readiness Level) up to TRL 6.
Other projects where SENER Aeroespacial collaborates with SIROM are MIRROR (Multi-arm Installation Robot for Readying ORUS and Reflectors, led by GMV), PERIOD (Grant Agreement Nº 101004151 led by Airbus DS) or “Prototyping of Spacecraft Refuelling” (ESA Contract No. 1520089425 led by Thales Alenia Space).