The Geostationary Servicing Vehicle (GSV)

Animation of ESA's Geostationary Servicing Vehicle
Animation of ESA's Geostationary Servicing Vehicle. In the movie the GSV approaches atarget satellite (Olympus) following a series of Hohman manouvres. Then the GSV robot prepares the spacecraft by erecting the docking/rigidisation structure. Next the GSV approaches from behind Olympus and captures it by its main engine nozzle. This is done by the robot handling a dedicated capture tool. Since in this case Olympus spins, the GSV spins up to the same speed along the same axis. The stinger of the capture tool is inserted via the nozzle in the combustion chamber and expanded to prevent the target from escaping. During insertion, the robot continuously adjusts its motion based upon distance and contact force measurements. After latching, the tumbling motions is gradually eliminated by the robot arm and the capture tool, followed by berthing and docking of the two spacecraft. The robot arm then berths the spacecraft to the GSV by latching the (other end of the) capture tool into its fixed position. The robot arm is now released and picks up a tool from its toolbox. Next the robot reaches for the stuck solar array, releases it and deploys it into its operational position.

Robotic Capture & Berthing, and docking

The GSV berthing an incapacitated GEO satellite. This telecom satellite failed to deploy one of its large reflectors. This failure means that the satellite can work with only 50% of its capacity and hence produce only 50% of its revenues. A GSV mechanical intervention would restore the full capacity.

Last update: 2 February 2011