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AI-enabled Cyber-Physical In-Orbit Factory - AI approaches based on digital twin technology for robotic small satellite production

Leutert, Florian and Bohlig, David and Kempf, Florian and Schilling, Klaus and Mühlbauer, Maximilian Sebastian and Ayan, Bengisu and Hulin, Thomas and Stulp, Freek and Albu-Schäffer, Alin Olimpiu and Kutscher, Vladimir and Plesker, Christian and Dasbach, Thomas and Damm, Stephan and Anderl, Reiner and Schleich, Benjamin (2024) AI-enabled Cyber-Physical In-Orbit Factory - AI approaches based on digital twin technology for robotic small satellite production. Acta Astronautica, 217, pp. 1-17. Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2024.01.019. ISSN 0094-5765.

[img] PDF - Only accessible within DLR bis 30 April 2026 - Preprint version (submitted draft)

Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0094576524000195


With the ever increasing number of active satellites in space, the rising demand for larger formations of small satellites and the commercialization of the space industry (so-called New Space), the realization of manufacturing processes in orbit comes closer to reality. Reducing launch costs and risks, allowing for faster on-demand deployment of individually configured satellites as well as the prospect for possible on-orbit servicing for satellites makes the idea of realizing an in-orbit factory promising. In this paper, we present a novel approach to an in-orbit factory of small satellites covering a digital process twin, AI-based fault detection, and teleoperated robot-control, which are being researched as part of the "AI-enabled Cyber-Physical In-Orbit Factory" project. In addition to the integration of modern automation and Industry 4.0 production approaches, the question of how artificial intelligence (AI) and learning approaches can be used to make the production process more robust, fault-tolerant and autonomous is addressed. This lays the foundation for a later realization of satellite production in space in the form of an in-orbit factory. Central aspect is the development of a robotic AIT (Assembly, Integration and Testing) system where a small satellite could be assembled by a manipulator robot from modular subsystems. Approaches developed to improving this production process with AI include employing neural networks for optical and electrical fault detection of components. Force sensitive measuring and motion training helps to deal with uncertainties and tolerances during assembly. An AI-guided teleoperated control of the robot arm allows for human intervention while a Digital Process Twin represents process data and provides supervision during the whole production process. Approaches and results towards automated satellite production are presented in detail.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/202506/
Document Type:Article
Title:AI-enabled Cyber-Physical In-Orbit Factory - AI approaches based on digital twin technology for robotic small satellite production
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Bohlig, DavidZentrum für Telematik e.V.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Schilling, KlausJulius-Maximilians-Universität WürzburgUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Mühlbauer, Maximilian SebastianUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-7635-0248UNSPECIFIED
Hulin, ThomasUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-3814-075XUNSPECIFIED
Stulp, FreekUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-9555-9517UNSPECIFIED
Albu-Schäffer, Alin OlimpiuUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-5343-9074152025243
Kutscher, VladimirTechnical University of DarmstadtUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Plesker, ChristianTechnical University of Darmstadthttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-5083-7613UNSPECIFIED
Damm, StephanTechnical University of DarmstadtUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Schleich, BenjaminTechnical University of Darmstadthttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-3638-4179UNSPECIFIED
Date:18 January 2024
Journal or Publication Title:Acta Astronautica
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 1-17
Keywords:Satellite production, Robotic assembly, Automated production, Artificial intelligence, Machine learning, Teleoperation, Digital twin
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Robotics
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R RO - Robotics
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Telerobotics, R - Explainable Robotic AI
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics (since 2013)
Deposited By: Mühlbauer, Maximilian Sebastian
Deposited On:31 Jan 2024 13:50
Last Modified:31 Jan 2024 13:50

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