We are pleased to announce that our team has recently been awarded 3 contracts from the European Space Agency to add new functionalities to the GRALS facility at ESTEC in the Netherlands. The GNC Rendezvous, Approach and Landing Simulator (GRALS) is a world class R&D facility that supports the development and testing of complex space missions requiring rendezvous and docking in orbit as well as landing or touchdown on planetary surfaces.
The two robotic arms coupled with a 33-meter long linear track used in the facility allow to simulate approach scenarios for hardware in the loop tests. The work will be focused on adding new functionalities for simulating rendezvous and docking scenarios using vision based navigation. Blackswan’s team will implement state of the art robotics algorithms and apply its extensive expertise in developing physically accurate and photo-realistic real-time computer simulations to create a digital version of the facility in a 3D environment with VR (Virtual Reality) capabilities.
Moreover, working with the agency’s experts we will develop an open source 3D model of a geostationary satellite to support rendezvous and docking as well as berthing and capture technology development.
The lessons learned during these 3 projects will be integrated into the ACE autonomy platform the company has recently announced, which is targeted at in-orbit servicing, debris removal and satellite constellation operators.