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The knowledge bank of ESA’s R&D programmes

Multi-arm Installation Robot for Readying ORUS and Reflectors (MIRROR)

Programme Reference
Prime Contractor
Start Date
End Date
Develop a multi arm robot that can relocate over a spacecraft, deploying ORUS or reflector segments from their stowed location to their operational location
Large structures in space are an essential and recurring element for space exploitation and exploration. Whether for collecting solar power, or reflecting radio signals or light, dimensions matter. In fact large structures are continuously increasing in size to bring increased economic and scientific benefits.
However, to realise these benefits, robotic capability to assemble the structures in-orbit is needed, as future structures will be too large to launch into orbit as a single self-deploying piece.
The activity encompasses the following tasks ::
- requirement definition: based on 2 use cases 1) reflector assembly and 2) reconfiguration of modular spacecraft. In both cases it is assumed that the robot has to a) unmount modules from their launch configuration , b) transport them over the structure of the satellite and over already installed modules, and finally c) install the new modules at their intended location
- preliminary design: this shall produce a design of the flight model of the multi-arm robot, providing its architecture, subsystems and their interfaces and also the adjoining ground support equipment. The preliminary design shall also establish the design of a functional breadboard that can be produced with off-the-shelf components and of any round support system needed for functional ground testing
- detailed design: the detail design will be performed for the breadboard that shall adopt where possible terrestrial geometrical and pin-to-pin equivalent of space components, in order to guarantee an upgrade path of the design towards flight.
- manufacturing assembly integration
- functional testing: the test shall demonstrate that the robot can perform according to its functional specification by implementing the operations a) b) c) with reduced payload and possibly a weight compensation device
Application Domain
Generic Technologies
Technology Domain
13 - Automation, Telepresence & Robotics
Competence Domain
6-Life & Physical Science Payloads, Life Support, Robotics & Automation
Initial TRL
Target TRL
Public Document