The Kinematic Design of a Robotic Large Space Structure Construction Service

by Mark R. Routson, Univ of Maryland, College Park, United States,
Jackson C. S. Yang, Univ of Maryland, College Park, United States,
Thomas C. Taylor, Univ of Maryland, College Park, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Robotics for Challenging Environments


Researchers at the University of Maryland's Robotics Research Lab are applying a kinematic rapid proto-typing methodology to the development of a commercial robotics service for the construction of Large Space Structures in Low Earth Orbit. The research, funded by the State of Maryland Industrial Partnership (MIP) program, in conjunction with Global Outpost Inc. (GOI), endeavors to integrate proven existing technology, such as NASA/Langley's Automated Structures Assembly Laboratory (ASAL) assembly system onto an expended Space Shuttle External Tank (ET). The proto-typing approach developed involves generating accurate three dimensional CAD representations of system hardware, assembling high fidelity functional models of subsystem components, and simulating/evaluating multi-device motion. This approach provides a basis for developing kinematically feasible hardware designs and detailed operational scripts. The resulting system is designed to support a variety of activities, including in orbit construction of large diameter reflector antennas, servicing of long duration Outpost Platform mounted customer payloads, as well as serving as a fundamental space based tele-operated robotics testbed.

Subject Headings: Three-dimensional models | Computer aided design | Kinematics | Robotics | Space structures | Space frames | Construction methods | Space exploration

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