StarTiger - Dropship

StarTiger: Terrestrial Dropship Demonstrator

Fully integrated Dropter system. A multi-copter with DFKI’s winch mechanism and the rover mock up attached in flight configuration. (Source: Florian Cordes/DFKI GmbH)
Fully integrated Dropter system. A multi-copter with DFKI’s winch mechanism and the rover mock up attached in flight configuration. (Source: Florian Cordes/DFKI GmbH)

The StarTiger: Terrestrial Dropship Demonstrator project is a project in the frame of ESA's StarTiger initiative. The project aims at the terrestrial demonstration of a planetary landing mission in which a rover is deployed on a planetary surface by means of a flying platform inspired by the well-known Skycrane. A multi-copter platform is used as subsitute for the rocket propusion Skycrane and is equipped with optical and inertial navigation, hazard detectiom and avoidance, a flight computer for execution of the autonomus landing sequence and a winch and bridle system for rover deployment. The DFKI is responsible for the mechatronics design, test and integration of the three subsystems winch, rover mockup and rover release.

Duration: 01.10.2013 till 30.06.2014
Donee: DFKI GmbH
Sponsor: ESA
Partner: Airbus DS, spin.works, TU Poznań
Application Field: Space Robotics
SAR- & Security Robotics
Related Robots: CARLTON
Flugroboter

Project details

Sequence of the demonstration mission: (1) TakeOff and ascend to 20m. (2) Start of descend and rover lowering. (3) Rover Touchdown. (4) Rover Release. (Source: Airbus DS)
Single frames from an on-board video shot during the lowering of the rover. In the first frame the rover is in up/flight configuration, in the subsequent images, the rover is lowered on its bridle while the Dropter platform descents. The last frame shows the deployed rover.
(Source: Tiago Hormigo/spin.works)
Dropter and rover after successful flight experiment
The StarTiger: Terrestrial Dropship Demonstrator project is a project in the frame of ESA's StarTiger initiative. The purpose of the project is to provide a 'quantum-leap' in robotic space exploration by applying an innovative, lean and pragmatic management approach which results in a significant reduction of R&D turnaround time while providing a significant advancement in technology.

The project lead is at EADS Astrium Bremen (now: Airbus DS). The DFKI takes part in the project as a subcontractor. Apart from the DFKI, EADS Astrium France, spin.works from Portugal and the TU Poznań, Poland are subcontractors. During the project, all engaged researchers are collocated at the Astrium site in Bremen.

The project aims at a terrestrial demonstration of a planetary landing with a system similar to the Skypcrane already successfully employed by NASA to safely land a rover on the surface of Mars. For the Dropship project, a multi-copter platform (the so called Dropter) is developed by TU Poznań. It is equipped with a flight control that takes care of autonomous attitude control and the mission sequence execution. A visual and inertial navigation, including HAD (hazard detection and avoidance) is developed by the project partner spin.works.

The DFKI is responsible for the mechatronic subsystem development of the lowering mechanism (winch, bridle) the rover mock-up and the rover release mechanism.

Videos

StarTiger: Mission

Video der finalen Flugversuche auf dem Testgelände in Trauen. Die gesamte Mission mit manuellem TakeOff, autonomer Flugphase, abseilen des Rovers, Bodendetektion und Rover-release wurde erfolgreich durchgeführt. (Quelle: ESA/ DFKI/ Spin.Works/ Poznań University of Technology, IAII/ Airbus Defence & Space)

StarTiger: Dropship

Video vom autonomen Absetzen des Rovers durch die fliegende Plattform. (Quelle: Florian Cordes/ DFKI GmbH, Airbus DS)

Back to the list of projects
© DFKI GmbH
last updated 17.01.2019
to top