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GMV Tests Robot for Maintenance of Structures in Earth’s Orbit

Credit: GMV

Ibadan, 18 September 2023. – GMV, a multinational technology company, have successfully concluded ground validation tests for a space robot designed to assemble structures in Earth’s orbit as part of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) MIRROR project (Multi-arm Installation Robot for Readying ORUS and Reflectors). Furthermore, the MIRROR robot can assemble large structures in orbit using smaller modules that fit in the launch systems available today, paving the way for new applications such as orbital solar power stations, large-scale telescopes, antennas, and more.

In addition, one of the applications of the MIRROR robot involves generating electricity in orbit via photovoltaic solar panels for terrestrial use. These stations would be approximately one kilometer in size, ensuring continuous electricity production around the clock, with the power transmitted to a large ground-based receiving antenna through microwave technology.

Another interesting application involves large-scale telescopes for cosmic research, with capabilities significantly enhanced when scaled up to sizes of tens of meters. Further growing interest lies in establishing extensive orbital platforms where telecommunications operators can conveniently install and maintain their equipment. In order to accomplish its mission, MIRROR must tackle challenges such as achieving exceptional precision in assembling parts, safely maneuvering within the structure it is assembling, or being able to use tools to assemble the components.

GMV conducted the tests at its facilities in Tres Cantos, Madrid, in the Platform-art® robotic laboratory, designed to simulate some conditions the system would encounter once in orbit. These tests have successfully proven the concept’s viability, setting the stage for the next development phase aimed at demonstrating these same operations in real tests in Earth’s orbit.

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