The aerospace industry is undergoing a period of profound change led by a push to bring more autonomy to the systems and reduce the operational costs. At Embotech, we believe that our technology, based on FORCESPRO, will play a key role in the development of future flight capabilities. The ability to compute optimal trajectories on-demand, on-board and in real-time, based on the current flight conditions, will provide aerospace applications with unprecedented robustness and flexibility.
Space Transportation Systems
The EmboRockETH – A testbed for reusable rockets G&C development
This video shows the in-flight demonstration of real-time guidance and control based on numerical optimization enabled by Embotech’s FORCESPRO. The project was done in close collaboration with ETH and partly funded by ESA under the FLPP framework. Detailed information on the vehicle’s design and it’s on-board software is available on this paper here, presented at IROS 2021.
Reusable Space Transportation System – A paradigm shift towards on-board trajectory generation
Supporting the ever-increasing need for access to space, enabling complex missions, and fostering deep space exploration, calls for a re-design of the spacecrafts and way they are operated.
Key elements to this vision are reusability and autonomy. The former is aimed at reducing costs and turnaround time between launces, while the latter addresses mission flexibility and the capability to adapt to the environment when real-time human interaction is not possible. As an example, modern launchers and planetary landers must be able to land autonomously within a few meters from the target. To this end, Embotech is working together with ESA since 2016 to develop the necessary algorithms and software.
Our guidance and control algorithm based on FORCESPRO are core elements to pilot space transportation systems fully autonomously and precisely on the desired location, thus improving the capability and reliability of such systems.
Reference Projects & Links
Safe and Cost-effective Operation through Active Space Debris Removal and In-Orbit Servicing
Traditionally, satellite-based services require large initial investment due to the high cost of manufacturing, launch, and operation for several years via ground control stations. Without servicing capabilities, the life span of a satellite is mostly defined by the on-board fuel reserves for attitude and orbit control. Once the propellant has been depleted, the spacecraft must be decommissioned even though the hardware itself may still be operational.
Moreover, the fast increasing number of objects around the planet is already challenging the way we launch and operate in space. To extend the lifetime of valuable assets, or to remove inactive hardware from orbit, there is the need for a new class of fully autonomous servicing vehicles.
With FORCESPRO we can address the coordinated motion of the servicing spacecraft, the robotic tools, and the targeted satellite, for life extension, servicing or deorbiting missions while minimizing the support needed from the ground segment.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Increasing the efficiency and capability of UAV applications with on-board autonomy
Unmanned aerial vehicles are used in a wide variety of applications, but mostly in very static and well structured environments employing simple guidance, navigation and control strategies requiring large operational margins. Using our on-board guidance, based on FORCESPRO, the UAVs can to do more in less time. The vehicles can fly faster and more accurate through a dynamic environment while avoiding collisions with static or moving obstacles. They can react efficiently on disturbances, such as strong wind gusts. Or, they can quickly adapt their flight path to follow a dynamic target like another fast maneuvering UAV.
Our algorithms lay the foundation for many challenging applications in this sector such as UAV highway systems, autonomous intralogistics, as well as interception and capturing of rogue drones.
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