Luxembourg's economy ministry is in the process of developing a commercial or newspace ecosystem following the launch of the Space Resources initiative in 2016
A local startup has teamed up with the University of Luxembourg to develop autonomous in-orbit refuelling and repair solutions.
Repairing satellites in space is cheaper and less wasteful than sending up new ones but it comes with its challenges. UK/Luxembourg newspace firm Lift me off (LMO) is developing solutions so that satellites can be reused for multiple missions and can work autonomously together, to enable on-orbit services like transport, manufacture, repair, recovery and refueling.
On Thursday, they signed a partnership agreement with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust’s (SnT) computer visioning, imaging and machine intelligence research group, which will help develop technologies to give service vehicles intelligent visual processing.
According to a university press release: “Computer vision will allow the vehicle to recognise the parts of the satellite it is working on and to process the data it receives, to then make autonomous decisions and successfully repair or refuel the spacecraft.”
Dr Djamila Aouada, principal investigator on the project, said: “Our work is typically applied to security solutions on the ground, so bringing our research into space will give us many new research opportunities. This is a very new field and there is a lot of work to be done to grow the role of computer vision in the space sector.”
Luxembourg is in the process of developing a commercial or newspace ecosystem following the launch of the Space Resources initiative in 2016. The strategy is focused on attracting and nurturing space companies active in developing technology related to earth observation and mineral extraction, also known as space mining.