Project TRAILER: Tandem of Rover And Associated WAIN for Lunar Extended Roaming
In Proceeding of the 71st International Astronautical Congress - The Cyber Space Edition (IAC2020), (IAC-2020), n.n., number Paper ID: 58613, Oct/2020. International Astronautical Federation.
TRAILER is a two-year project funded by the European Space Agency ESA to test a novel architecture of robotic cooperation based on a tandem of two rovers for lunar surface exploration missions.
As part of the effort to return humans to the Moon and establish a permanent presence the International Space Station partners plan a GATEWAY “Base Camp” in lunar orbit that will support human and robotic expeditions on the surface of the Moon. Astronauts and robots will work together to prepare the coming era of space exploration with missions to the lunar South Pole and other locations: robotic explorers will search for ISRU elements that could support a human presence on the surface. These scouts will be operated either from Earth or from GATEWAY; and they will need to perform certain tasks in autonomy.
The main objective of the TRAILER activity is to develop a rover system consisting of i) An agile and powerful rover (TRACTOR) equipped with high performance locomotion and navigation, local wireless transceiver, short-term energy storage, sample acquisition system, and ii) An active trailer (WAIN) equipped with limited locomotion and navigation, high power generation or storage and local wireless network that could assure lunar-earth communication and a scientific laboratory for sample collection and analysis. The TRAILER activity is under a contract by ESA and led by the Marseille-based company COMEX that develops the “WAIN". The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence Robotics Innovation Center (DFKI RIC) in Germany is responsible for simulations and development of the second robot, the “TRACTOR". LIQUIFER Systems Group in Austria defines the functional requirements and mission operation scenarios of the robotic tandem. The TRAILER system will be tested in facilities at the partner organizations in France and Germany.