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ADRexp project aim is development, verification and demonstration in the laboratory conditions gripper to capture non-cooperating space debris represented by adapter ring of the heavy-class satellite.

The LAR adaptive gripper is able to capture Launch Adapter Ring (LAR) of the non-cooperative satellite during the Active Debris Removal (ADR) type of missions. It could be installed on the end-effector of the robotic arm or directly to the structure of the chaeser satellite.

The device is built from two independent grippers, called Fast Gripper Module and Strong Gripper Module. The gripper is designed modularly. To grab various models of the Ariane 5 LARs, only the fingers and jaws must be replaced to fit the particular LAR model.

The LAR adaptive gripper captures a target in two stages: the soft phase and the rigidization phase. During the soft capturing phase Fast Gripper is used to enclose the LAR first and then to grab it under high misalignments. During the ridigization phase, jaws of the Strong Gripper strongly clench on the LAR and establish a rigid connection that allows to transfer loads between target and a chaser satellite.

The gripper can be teleoperated or operated autonomously. In the autonomous mode control the algorithm controls the approach speed to the target and determines the right position and moment of capturing the LAR. When the LAR will locate in the capture envelope, then the gripper will be run. Information with the data of the target position are provided by the stereo camera.

A breadboard model of the gripper successfully completed functional tests on ŁUKASIEWICZ PIAP – Institute robotics facility in Warsaw and TAS-F Rendezvous Test Bench in Cannes.

The maturity of the technology is defined at TRL3/4.

Project is runing under 2nd Call For Outline Proposals Under The Polish Industry Incentive Scheme, contract No. 4000113467/15/NL/CBi.