Downsizing an orbital space robot: A dynamic system based evaluation

Jackson, Lucy, Saaj, Chakravarthini M., Seddaoui, Asma , Whiting, Calem, Eckersley, Steve and Hadfield, Simon (2020) Downsizing an orbital space robot: A dynamic system based evaluation. Advances in Space Research, 65 (10). pp. 2247-2262. ISSN

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Downsizing an orbital space robot: A dynamic system based evaluation
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Small space robots have the potential to revolutionise space exploration by facilitating the on-orbit assembly of infrastructure, in shorter time scales, at reduced costs. Their commercial appeal will be further improved if such a system is also capable of performing on-orbit servicing missions, in line with the current drive to limit space debris and prolong the lifetime of satellites already in orbit. Whilst there have been a limited number of successful demonstrations of technologies capable of these on-orbit operations, the systems remain large and bespoke. The recent surge in small satellite technologies is changing the economics of space and in the near future, downsizing a space robot might become be a viable option with a host of benefits. This industry wide shift means some of the technologies for use with
a downsized space robot, such as power and communication subsystems, now exist. However, there are still dynamic and control issues that need to be overcome before a downsized space robot can be capable of undertaking useful missions. This paper first outlines these issues, before analyzing the effect of downsizing a system on its operational capability. Therefore presenting the smallest controllable system such that the benefits of a small space robot can be achieved with current technologies. The sizing of the base spacecraft and manipulator are addressed here. The design presented consists of a 3 link, 6 degrees of freedom robotic manipulator mounted on a 12U form factor satellite. The feasibility of this 12U space robot was evaluated in simulation and the in-depth results presented here support the hypothesis that a small space robot is a viable solution for in-orbit operations.

Keywords:Small satellite, space robot, In-orbit assembly and servicing, In-orbit operations
Subjects:H Engineering > H643 Satellite Engineering
H Engineering > H671 Robotics
Divisions:College of Science > School of Engineering
ID Code:48337
Deposited On:22 Feb 2022 14:45

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