Robotics in SEI Terrestrial Launch Site Operations

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by Brian S. Yamamoto, Rockwell Int Corp, Downey, United States,
A. J. Mauceri, Rockwell Int Corp, Downey, United States,
O. A. Chaikovsky, Rockwell Int Corp, Downey, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space III:

Abstract: This paper addresses work performed at Rockwell International's Space Systems Division, Downey, California. Future Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) missions will require terrestrial fueling, probably of hypergolics and cryogenics. Present methods for handling these fuels are complex, slow, inefficient, and cumbersome and may pose safety risks to the human refueling crew. The paper addresses these concerns for future Earth-launched SEI equipment, and has four sections. First, present methods of launch site fueling are described, including the limited use of automation/robotics. Problems with time to fuel, manpower requirements, safety, and cost are discussed. The need for an expanded role for automation/robotics at SEI terrestrial launch sites is stressed. The second section details the requirements that this expanded role must satisfy. Requirement areas include hardware interfaces, the automation/robotic system itself, safety and redundancy, and operations. The third section presents three concepts for launch site automation/robotics fueling: robotic arm actuation, track drive automated fueling, and rotating arm automated fueling. Trade studies are presented to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of each concept. The fourth section of the paper examines present technology and makes recommendations about necessary future technology development so that schemes, such as those described above, can be implemented.

Subject Headings: Robotics | Fuels | Automation | Safety | Equipment and machinery | Risk management | North America | California | United States

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