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28 April 2015

Danish Aerospace Company ApS to develop and build Space Exoskeleton System with ESA

Danish Aerospace Company (DAC) has been selected by ESA to complete design, build and test the flight hardware of the Space Exoskeleton System. The system will later fly on the International Space Station (ISS) where it will be used inside ISS for a number of technology demonstration experiments.

DAC’s has been awarded the contract for the development and manufacturing of the Space Exoskeleton System by ESA. DAC is the prime contractor in the consortium, which also includes Space Applications Services NV/SA from Zaventem in Belgium.

The preliminary design of the Space Exoskeleton System was developed by ESA’s Telerobotics & Haptics Laboratory at ESTEC (European Space Research and Technology Centre) in the Netherlands and provided to the consortium. DAC and Space Applications Services will, finalize this design and take it to manufacturing and through tests to the final flight hardware, in close collaboration with ESA’s Telero-botics & Haptics Laboratory

Space Exoskeleton System

The Exoskeleton system is a haptic device that crew will use as ‘haptic master device’ to perform direct bilateral control tasks of various ‘slave robot’ systems or other robotic humanoid systems either in space or on Earth. The Exoskeleton sub-system is a highly integrated mechatronic sub-system that contains one exoskeleton arm, grasp force-feedback device, avionics system integrated in a backpack-like structure and a hand grasp master. The overall concept of the system has been developed by ESA.

The Exoskeleton arm element is the actual exoskeleton mechatronic haptic device, including its mechanical and electronic structure. It utilizes the haptic technology, which is based on tactile feedback technology which recreates the sense of touch by applying forces, vibrations, or motions to the user.

Vast space experience

The consortium of DAC & Space Applications Services together holds expertise within robotics and design, development and manufacturing of manned space hardware and is therefore an ideal partner for ESA Laboratory.

DAC has to date have launched more than 3 tons of space equipment into space on the majority of the worlds manned and unmanned space transportation vehicles. DAC also currently operates several medical research equipment on ISS for ESA and have developed bicycle ergometers for NASA, which have been used on all Space Shuttles since 1993, on the Russian space station Mir and which are used almost daily currently on ISS.

“With the new contract and the development of the Space Exoskeleton System we move into a new and promising field together with Space Applications Services and the European Space Agency. Here we can draw upon our vast expertise and experience in building space hardware for manned space vehicles.” says CEO Thomas A. E. Andersen.

Remote crew based control of robots on ground

The project is lasting 22 months and will lead us to delivery of the Space Exoskeleton flight hardware to ESA, who will fly the device to the International Space Station. Here, it will be used for a number of technology demonstration experiments. The experiments will involve bilateral control with robotics on ground.

In one of the planned experiments with the system, a crew member on ISS will be tasked to remotely operate a redundant lightweight manipulator on Earth, in order to perform assembly-type of engineering tasks on a taskboard. The robot and the task-board will be located inside the ESAs Telerobotics & Haptics Laboratory.

For further information

CEO Thomas A. E. Andersen,
Phone +45 40 29 41 62.

Danish Aerospace Company ApS is a space technology company operating in the area of advanced medical instrumentation and other engineering fields primarily for space applications. The company is located in Odense, Denmark and is a subsidiary of the M. Goldschmidt Group, owned by Mikael Gold-schmidt.

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