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Advanced  Robotics  and  Surface  Vehicles

An Extravehicular Activity (spacewalk) is an operation with many potential hazards necessitating advanced preparation time.  The utilization of robotics to perform operations outside the International Space Station or to augment crewmember operations results in a more efficient operation.  This also applies whether the Astronaut is in low earth orbit or on the surface of an Asteroid, Mars, or the Moon.  The Johnson Space Center has expertise in sensing, manipulation, autonomy, Human-Systems Interface, and Space Suits.

Johnson Space Center (JSC) provides research, engineering, development, integration, and testing of robotic hardware and software technologies for robotic systems applications in support of human spaceflight. Advanced robotic systems technology efforts include both remotely controlled robots for space and terrestrial application and intelligent robotics for high value functionality.  JSC technology development laboratories have produced the Robonaut, an anthropomorphic robot with dexterity close to that of humans, and the Lunar Electric Rover, which was on display in the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Parade.

Services Provided:

  • Design and development of highly dexterous manipulators
    • Force-controlled manipulation
    • Variable stiffness joints
    • Human-like end effectors
    • Integrated machine vision
    • Human-compatible robot operations
  • Design and development of electric vehicles for extra-planetary or terrestrial off-road use in extreme environments
    • Active suspension systems
    • Efficient transmissions
    • Vehicle autonomy and navigation
    • Efficient motor control
    • High voltage DC systems
  • Design and development of robotic interfaces
  • Design and development of free-flying robotic micro/nanosatellite-class platforms
  • Robotic interface and system requirements definition and verification
  • Robotic capture and berthing analysis of free-flying vehicles
  • Simulation and verification of robotic workstation interfaces
  • Physical emulation of robotic devices with motion platforms

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