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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.

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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 bene�ts. 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 �rst outlines these issues, before analyzing the effect of downsizing a system on its operational capability. Therefore presenting the smallest controllable system such that the benefi�ts 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; Free-Flying; Free-Floating.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Electronic Engineering
Authors :
Saaj, Chakravarthini M.
Whiting, Calem
Eckersley, Steve
Date : 7 March 2020
Funders : EPSRC, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.
Depositing User : James Marshall
Date Deposited : 09 Mar 2020 10:48
Last Modified : 09 Mar 2020 10:48

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