Planetary RObots Deployed for Assembly and Construction Tasks

The primary objective of PRO-ACT is to implement and demonstrate multi-robot collaborative planning and manipulation capabilities in a lunar construction context, relying on extending and integrating the outcomes of the PERASPERA operational grants (OGs) – OG1 ESROCOS, OG2 ERGO, OG3 InFuse, OG4 I3DS, OG5 SIROM – with a focus on: (1) enabling assembly of an In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) plant on the moon as precursor to human settlement and (2) partial assembly of a mobile gantry which can also be used for 3D printing building elements for assembly and construction of human habitats, and address the critical concern of dust mitigation.

Duration: 01.02.2019 till 30.04.2021
Donee: German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence GmbH
Sponsor: European Union
Grant number: EU financial support, Horizon 2020 PERASPERA, Grant Agreement Number 821903
  • Space Applications Services NV, Belgium
  • GMV Aerospace and Defence SA, Spain
  • Przemyslowy Instytut Automatyki i Pomiarow PIAP, Poland
  • Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique CNRS, France
  • City, University of London, Great Britain
  • AVS added Value Industrial Engineering Solutions SLU, Spain
  • La Palma Research Centre for Future Studies SL, Spain
  • Thales Alenia Space, Great Britain
Application Field: Space Robotics
Related Projects: InFuse (OG3)
Common Data Fusion Framework for Space Robotics (11.2016- 01.2019)
European Space Robot Control Operating System (11.2016- 01.2019)
Standard Interface for Robotic Manipulation of Payloads in Future Space Missions (11.2016- 02.2019)
FACILIties for Testing (at) ORbital and Surface robotics building blocks (11.2016- 01.2019)
Learning Intelligent Motions for Kinematically Complex Robots for Exploration in Space (05.2012- 04.2016)
ADE (OG10)
Autonomous Decision Making in Very Long Traverses (02.2019- 04.2021)

Project details

Mantis using its front extremities for manipulation tasks (Photo: DFKI GmbH)
Outdoor walking of Mantis on flat soil (Photo: DFKI GmbH, Alexander Dettmann)
Outdoor walking of Mantis on uneven and sandy terrain (Photo: DFKI GmbH, Alexander Dettmann)

In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) enables sustainability in space exploration through the harnessing of resources that are available in space in order to create products and services for robotic exploration, human exploration and for commercial purposes.

The European Space Agency is preparing a mission to demonstrate the feasibility of ISRU on the Moon.

Such ISRU plants would serve as a source of water and oxygen, enabling human outposts, and for delivery of hydrogen and oxygen fuel to various locations in cis-lunar space.

Towards this objective, the PRO-ACT project aims to demonstrate a novel approach of deploying multiple robots to work towards achieving common goals by cooperative goal decomposition, cooperative mission planning and execution cooperative manipulation for transport and assembly of the ISRU Pilot Plant and its supporting infrastructure.

DFKI will support the multi-robot collaboration within the planetary construction scenario with the six-legged robotic system Mantis by considering and implementation of the outcomes of the previous OGs 1-5 in PERASPERA.

PRO-ACT is part of the project “PER ASPERA (ad ASTRA)” (Latin meaning “Through hardships to the stars”), which is funded by a grant by the European Union through the Horizon 2020 Programme.

Website of the H2020-Project PRO-ACT


PRO-ACT: Multi-Robot Cooperation in Space

Multi-robotics cooperation is one of several key technologies that are seen as promising for planetary exploration. In the PRO-ACT project, these technologies were applied and further developed. The involved robotic systems VELES (a six-wheeled rover from PIAP Space, Poland), Mantis (a six-legged walking robotic system from DFKI, Germany) and the Mobile Gantry (a four-wheeled gantry with a 3d printer from AVS, Spain) were foreseen to perform tasks together. In the last months of the project, the Corona pandemic situation worsened, and as a result, travel restrictions also increased, so that the joint tests with the robotic systems could not be carried out together as planned. The video gives an insight into how the cooperative tasks could still be tested to successfully complete the project.

Other videos show the final tests conducted in more technical detail.

PRO-ACT: Planetary Robots Deployed for Assembly and Construction Tasks

The animation shows the planned mission scenarios of the three robotic systems involved.

The robotic systems involved are Mantis from the Robotics Innovation Center of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in Germany, VELES from Piap Space in Poland and the mobile gantry from AVS in Spain.

Intelligent space robotics: scientist Wiebke Brinkmann speaks on the EU-funded research in Bremen




Development strategies for multi-robot teams in context of planetary exploration
Wiebke Brinkmann, Leon Cedric Danter, Amrita Suresh, Mehmed Yüksel, Manuel Meder, Frank Kirchner
In 2024 International Conference on Space Robotics, (iSpaRo-2024), 24.6.-27.6.2024, Luxembourg, o. A., Jun/2024.


Mantis Within a Multi Robot Team for Lunar Exploration and Construction Tasks
Wiebke Brinkmann, Leon Cedric Danter, Tobias Stark, Alexander Dettmann, Matteo De Benedetti, Shashank Govindaraj, Irene Sans Nieto, Alexandru But, Francisco Javier Colmenero, Enrique Heredia, Marcedes Alonso
In Proceedings of the 2022 IEEE Aerospace Conference, 5.3.-12.3.2022, Big Sky, Montana, IEEE, pages 1-15, Mar/2022.


Building a Lunar Infrastructure with the Help of a Heterogeneous (Semi)Autonomous Multi-Robot-Team
Shashank Govindaraj, Wiebke Brinkmann, Francisco Javier Colmenero, Irene Sanz Nieto, Alexandru But, Matteo De Benedetti, Leon Cedric Danter, Mercedes Alonso, Enrique Heredia, Simon Lacroix, Dominik Kleszczynski, Joseph Purnell, Kevin Picton, Nabil Aouf, Luis Lopes
In In Proc. of. 72nd International Astronautical Congress 2021, (IAC-2021), (IAC-2021), 25.10.-29.10.2021, Dubai, n.n., Oct/2021.
Analogue lunar research for commercial exploitation of in-situ resources and planetary exploration - Applications in the PRO-ACT project
Luis Lopes, Shashank Govindaraj, Wiebke Brinkmann, Simon Lacroix, Jakub Stelmachowski, Fran Colmenero, Joseph Purnell, Kevin Picton, Nabil Aouf
EGU General Assembly 2021, Apr/2021.


Enhancement of the Six-Legged Robot Mantis for Assembly and Construction Tasks in Lunar Mission Scenarios within a Multi-Robot Team
Wiebke Brinkmann, Alexander Dettmann, Leon Cedric Danter, Christopher Schulz, Tobias Stark, Adrian Brandt
In 15th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS '20), (i-SAIRAS-2020), 19.10.-23.10.2020, Online-Conference, o.A., Oct/2020.
Multi-Robot Cooperation for Lunar Base Assembly and Construction
Shashank Govindaraj, Irene Sanz Nieto, Alexandru But, Wiebke Brinkmann, Alexander Dettmann, Leon Cedric Danter, Nabil Aouf, Masoud Sotoodeh-Bahraini, Abdelhafid Zenati, Heitor Savino, Jakub Stelmachowski, Francicso Colmenero, Enrique Heredia, Mercedes Alonso, Joseph Purnell, Kevin Picton, Luis Lopez
In 15th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space, (i-SAIRAS-2020), 19.10.-23.10.2020, Online-Conference, o.A., Oct/2020.
Lightweight and Framework-Independent Communication Library to Support Cross-Plattform Robotic Applications and High-Latency Connections
Leon Cedric Danter, Steffen Planthaber, Alexander Dettmann, Wiebke Brinkmann, Frank Kirchner
In 15th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS '20), (i-SAIRAS), 19.10.-23.10.2020, Online-Conference, o.A., Oct/2020.
PRO-ACT - Planetary Robots Deployed for Assembly and Construction of Future Lunar ISRU and Supporting Infrastructures
Luis Lopez, Shashank Govindaraj, Balazs Bodo, Kevin Picton, Joseph Purnell, Fran Colmenero, Wiebke Brinkmann, Heitor Savino, Jakub Stelmachowski, Nabil Aouf
EGU General Assembly 2020, May/2020.


PRO-ACT: Planetary Robots Deployed For Assembly And Construction of Future Lunar ISRU and Supporting Infrastructure
Shashank Govindaraj, Jeremi Gancet, Diego Urbina, Wiebke Brinkmann, Nabil Aouf, Simon Lacroix, Mateusz Wolski, Francisco Colmenero, Michael Walshe, Cristina Ortega, Balazs Bodo
In In proceedings of 15th Symposium on Advanced Space Technologies in Robotics and Automation (ASTRA 2019), (ASTRA-2019), 27.5.-28.5.2019, Noordwijk, o.A., 2019.
Space Robotic Systems and Artificial Intelligence in the Context of the European Space Technology Roadmap
Wiebke Brinkmann, Florian Cordes, Christian Ernst Siegfried Koch, Malte Wirkus, Raúl Dominguez, Alexander Dettmann, Thomas Vögele, Frank Kirchner
In Proceedings of Space Tech Conferences, 19.11.-21.11.2019, Bremen, o.A., 2019.

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last updated 04.01.2024