Deutsches Forschungszentrum fuer Kuenstliche Intelligenz (DFKI) GmbH

Location: Bremen, Germany


Brief description: The DFKI Robotics Innovation Center (RIC) in Bremen is one of four offices of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), a private non-profit research organization dedicated to application-oriented research and development with a focus on artificial intelligence. At the Robotics Innovation Center, a staff of almost 100 researchers from all over the world works on projects related to robotics.

The Robotics Innovation Center team benefits from interdisciplinary cooperation: computer scientists and design engineers meet biologists, mathematicians, computer linguists, industrial designers, electro engineers, physicists, and psychologists in order to jointly develop mobile robot systems. The design accords to latest mechatronic developments and AI-based programming.

In the framework of direct industrial orders or publicly funded joint projects, the Robotics Innovation Center designs and realizes intelligent robots for a variety of fields of application, such as space robotics, underwater robotics, agricultural robotics and automation, SAR (Search and Rescue) and security robotics, logistics, robotics for flexible production, rehabilitation robotics, and intelligent (electro)mobility solutions. The focus of the projects lies on a rapid transfer of results of basic research into real-world applications.

Role in the project: DFKI will lead the project and will be responsible for overall coordination and management of exploitation and IPR issues. The following aspects of the project will be the technical contributions of DFKI: provision of the robotic platform and adaptation to the planned Earth-Analogue missions, development of a robot-control interface to be integrated in an EVA suit, optimization of the robot locomotion control, participation in the planned Earth Analogue missions.

Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises SA (COMEX)

Location: Marseilles, France


Brief Description: COMEX provides expertise and innovation in the maritime, submarine, medical, industrial, and space sectors. COMEX develops hyperbaric chambers, diving systems and equipment for human interventions in extreme environments. COMEX’s innovations are based on the research work of its world renowned Hyperbaric Experimental Centre. The company positions itself also in the space sector with IVA and EVA training of astronauts underwater in neutral buoyancy test pools and on the Marseilles subsea analogue site. Its facilities are ESA referenced Ground Based Facilities and it disposes of an EVA training suit (GANDOLFI) that will be used in the frame of MOONWALK for subsea simulations of space missions to the Moon, asteroids or Mars.

Role in the project: COMEX is in charge of the technical coordination for MOONWALK. In the frame of the project, COMEX will develop a novel EVA training suit that includes innovative MMI technologies for the robot control and communication. The developments will be tested in pool and will be part of the mission simulation underwater offshore in Marseilles, which COMEX will support with logistics, surface vessels and observation robots.

Airbus Group (AG-I)

Location: Newport, United Kingdom


Brief description: The Airbus Group is a global pioneer in aeronautics, space and defence related services, creating cutting-edge technology. Combining European heritage with global outreach, the diversity of our talent and technology drives innovation, integration and internationalisation. This shapes the company we are today and our vision for the future, helping the world cope with the incredible challenges it faces.

Airbus Group Innovations – the Airbus Group network of research facilities, scientists, engineers and partnerships – is at the forefront of research and technology. Airbus Group Innovations fosters technological excellence and business orientation through the sharing of competences and means between the three Divisions of the Airbus Group (Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space and Airbus Helicopters) and develops and maintains partnerships with world-famous schools, universities and research centres.

Role in the project: Airbus Group Innovations will develop the biomedical monitoring for EVA.

Liquifer Systems Group (LSG) GmbH

Location: Vienna, Austria


Brief Description: LIQUIFER Systems Group (LSG) is a trans-disciplinary platform engaged in the design of future systems for Earth and (Outer) Space. The LSG team comprises of experts in Architecture, Design, Systems Engineering, Human Factors, Robotics and Satellite Technologies for Terrestrial and Space Applications. LSG excels in designing advanced concepts for habitation, transportation and exploration system for outer space. LSG’s portfolio of projects highlights the reciprocities between terrestrial and extra-terrestrial architecture and design.

Role in the project: LSG will play an important role in concept definition, concept architecture, visualization, animation, videos, dissemination and outreach. It will provide expertise in human factors and participate in the design and development of EVA training suit, EVA tools and payload mock-up for the robotic rover.

Space Applications Services N.V. (SPACE)

Location: Zaventem, Belgium


Brief description: Space Applications is an independent Belgian company founded in 1987, with a subsidiary in Houston, USA. Our aim is to research and develop innovative systems, solutions and products for the aerospace and security markets and related industries. Space Applications has been involved in the development and analysis of future space missions and operations through a number of ESA Phase-A studies. Additionally, Space Applications has provided operations support for European payloads on the International Space Station (ISS) for more than four years including planning upcoming activities, creating procedures and training operators. In addition to this, Space Applications has had prior experience in analyzing requirements and architectures for ground segments, as well as implementing the segments, having worked on the ground segment for the PROBA-1 mission. Space Applications also has past experience developing and evaluating various Man-Machine Interfaces (MMI). These include augmented and virtual reality systems for training, procedural assistance and medicine, haptic exoskeletons and control platforms for manipulation and mobile robots. In this context, Space Applications is currently involved in developing a Mobile Procedure Viewer for ESA.

Role in the project: SPACE will lead the Work Packages on Concept Definition and (System) Architecture and on Man-Machine Platform, with a focus on developing a wearable EVA information system as well as the Control Centre for MOONWALK analogue simulations.

NTNU Samfunnsforsking AS (NTNU) Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Space (CIRiS)

Location: Trondheim, Norway


Brief description: NTNU Samfunnsforskning AS (NTNU) is a non-profit research company owned 100% by Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). CIRiS is a department of NTNU Samfunnsforskning AS with a mandate to promote and perform research and development relevant to the exploration and exploitation of space. The institute has an interdisciplinary staff of scientists and engineers with background in technology, the humanities, social and natural science. Research on safety and efficient communication in “virtual teams” working with large geographical and cultural distance, in “Man-Technology-Organization” (MTO) context, is of special interest. This is reflected in our spaceflight related activities where we on a daily basis contribute to the integration and operation of payloads on the International Space Station (ISS). Several projects address human and organizational factors designed to increase safety and security, as well as to enable effective communication and cooperation over long distances. This is also a key theme in the activities related to human spaceflight.

Role in the project: NTNU is responsible for the human dependability study and the simulation campaign evaluation.

Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial Centro de Astrobiologia (INTA- CAB)

Location: Torrejón de Ardoz, Madrid, Spain


Brief description: The Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA) is the Spanish reference in aerospace research. Settled in its own campus next to Madrid, along with its more than 70 years of existence INTA has developed multiple projects in the aeronautic field as well as space, such as mini-satellites, communication satellites, etc. Since 1998 INTA bears the Centro de Astrobiología (CAB), the first international partner associated with the NASA Astrobiology Institute. The CAB depends administratively on INTA and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC). The CAB is a multidisciplinary institution in which researchers from many different fields (physics, astrophysics, astro-chemistry, computation, mathematics, geology, palaeontology, chemistry, biology, molecular biology and engineering) are involved in the understanding of the origin, spread and evolution of life in the universe. In the road map of Astrobiology, the exploration of planet Mars is one of the main objectives. Researchers at INTA-CAB have extensive expertise in the exploration of terrestrial analogue environments of Mars and, particularly in the Rio Tinto system. Also, CAB has experience in the development of instruments for Mars exploration, being the leader of REMS, the meteorological station currently on board of the NASA’s MSL rover “Curiosity”, and the ESA’s ExoMars raman instrument.

Role in the project: INTA-CAB will be responsible for astrobiological field exploration activities for EVA-robotic simulation in Rio Tinto Mars analogue.