LUVMI-XR team passes first field trial of the Space Resources Challenge
It is full steam ahead as the LUVMI-XR Team from Space Applications Services has passed the first field trial of the Space Resources Challenge organised by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC). This is a positive development that showcases the able expertise of our engineers at Space Applications Service and our partners.
First Field Trial Success
In November 2021, the multi-skilled team competed against 12 other teams to demonstrate lunar prospecting with a robotic system operated from a remote control center. The challenge was to analyse rock samples in an unknown area, controlling the robots remotely, with a 5 seconds round-trio signal delay to simulate the communications from the Earth to the Moon.
The LUVMI-XR Team, along with four other teams have passed that phase and will proceed to compete in another field test in September. The winner at this stage will win a contract to further improve the technology readiness of their solution.
The Space Resources Challenge Game Plan
It is exciting to see a good plan come together. For the Space Resources Challenge, the LUVMI-X Rover acts as the primary platform, hosting scientific instruments for analysing rock compositions. The instruments consist of hyperspectral and multispectral imagers.
The Rover is complemented by two smaller Leo rovers from the University of Luxembourg, explores and maps the environment. The rovers are operated from a control center, where high level commands performed autonomously by the rovers are sent. The data collected is centralised and processed in a custom monitoring and control center, from which operations are supervised by our team members.
The LUVMI-XR Team captain commented on this exciting development saying, “The Space Resources Challenge is a great opportunity to test and validate lunar prospection technologies – the rover itself, but also the instruments onboard. It will also be the occasion to meet with other teams and share on concepts and challenges to be overcome in future robotic missions to the Moon.”
The Lunar Volatiles Mobile Instrumentation (LUVMI) rover family provides a smart, low mass, innovative, modular and extendable platform designed to accommodate payloads and provide payload mobility on the moon. It is tele-operated with optional autonomous modes to allow for faster traverses and for safety when entering Permanently Shadowed Regions.
Teamwork pays off
This first success is because of a determined and skilled team from six companies, universities and research centres in areas covering space robotics, lunar (and terrestrial) geology as well as scientific instruments for resources prospection on the Moon. The LUVMI-XR Team includes the following partners:
- Space Applications Services (BE): Team Lead, LUVMI-X rover platform, control centre and communication software
- SpaceR Research Group, University of Luxembourg (LU): UAV (drone) platform, Leo rover platform, perception and navigation software
- Dynamic Imaging Analytics (UK): multispectral imagers and navigation cameras
- IMEC(BE): hyperspectral cameras
- CRPG, University of Lorraine/CNRS(FR): lunar geology, hyperspectral sensors data processing
- Open University (UK): volatiles organic compounds detector
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