The Institute of System Dynamics and Control develops models and technologies for robotic servicing, repair and disposal of satellites. Activities include verification and improvement of satellite docking systems and development of “Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC)” strategies for service satellites. For the realization of this goal, highly accurate and flexible multi-body and contact dynamics models play a crucial role.
As part of the ESA “Clean Space Initiative”, new technologies are developed to remove space debris out of satellite orbits (Active Debris Removal, ADR). These technologies include GNC solutions that allow an integrated control of a servicing satellite with a mounted robot arm, to be able to fly to and grasp inactive satellites and remove them from the orbit. In an ESA project, the SR institute has developed an appropriate simulation tool for the Envisat ADR Scenario (eDeorbit), with- in which necessary GNC algorithms are implemented and successfully demonstrated regarding fly-around, rendezvous, docking, detumbling and deorbiting of an uncooperative target.