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Prototype for an Ultra Large Structure Assembly Robot

Project description

Autonomous assembly of large structures in space

Future space missions will necessitate structures too large to be self-deployed in one piece. For instance, the next-generation telescope envisioned by astronomers will require assembly in space. In this context, the EU-funded PULSAR project will work on the assembly of a mirror, which requires more care and accuracy than other structures. However, the developed technology will also be applicable to other large structures. PULSAR’s overall concept is aimed at the creation of a fully autonomous, on-orbit robotic assembly system. Its demonstration use case is the high-precision assembly, using a robotic arm, of a set of mirror tiles in order to build the very large primary mirror of a next-generation space telescope.


Autonomous assembly of large structures in space is a key challenge to implement future missions that will necessitate structures too large to be self-deployed as a single piece. The James Webb Space Telescope has reached this limit and the next generation telescope expected by astronomers, like the High Definition Space Telescope, will therefore require new assembly technologies, in particular autonomous robots. The need for large structures in space goes beyond telescopes and concerns also solar arrays for power plant, light sails to reach outermost regions of the solar system or heat shields to land on Mars.
PULSAR objective is to develop and demonstrate key technologies for in-space assembly of the primary mirror of a 12m diameter telescope. Previously developed building blocks, c.f. first call of the SRC Space Robotics Technology, will be integrated and enhanced for this specific mission, but also to serve future multi-mission applications.
The project focuses on the assembly of a mirror but the developed technology will be applicable to other large structures. Indeed, assembling a mirror requires far more rigor and accuracy than other identified structures. PULSAR is organized in three demonstration tracks to address major challenges of in-space autonomous assembly of telescope: dPAMT, demonstrator of Precise Assembly of Mirror Tiles; dLSAFFE, demonstrator of Large Structure Assembly in Free Floating Environment; dISAS, demonstrator of In-Space Assembly in Simulation.
Although three demonstrators will be developed, the underlying technology will rely on common building blocks whose use and improvement will benefit from the expertise of the PULSAR partners. Building blocks upgrades will then be supplied to their respective maintainers to pursue the standardization of modular and reusable components for space and non-space robotics. PULSAR is responsible of OG5/SIROM, and will contribute to the development of ESROCOS, ERGO, INFUSE and I3DS.

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 658 750,00
1 rue ariane
31520 Ramonville saint agne

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Occitanie Midi-Pyrénées Haute-Garonne
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (7)