Orbital Factory

The International Space Station (ISS) is the hosting platform in orbit. It provides power, data and station keeping for the PERIOD system. The crew on the ISS will be important for the transport to the operational position and a driver for requirements and processes. The Mobile Servicing System (MSS) will be necessary together with the ISS crew for the installation and reconfiguration of the system.



The Bartolomeo platform is attached to the ISS outside the Columbus module, it has several payload slots with a standard interface to attach elements with a standard interface comprising an electrical connector and the grapple fixture for the MSS. The boxes are designed to be installed with the MSS without ISS crew intervention.

The current baseline for PERIOD foresees an installation of two boxes in adjacent slots on the Bartolomeo platform. Initially these slots will be occupied by:

  • the factory box containing robotic manipulators, required tools, the system avionics and observation hardware
  • the satellite assembly box including the required material and workbench infrastructure


After the successful demonstration of the satellite assembly and re-configuration, the empty box will be replaced by an attachment and refueling element providing both the fuel depot as well as an empty reservoir to receive a propellant simulant. The reservoir will be securely attached to PERIOD, but within its permitted envelope free floating in space. Before the fuel transfer can be initiated it needs to be approached and attached using the ASSIST interface.