Advancing On Orbit Assembly with the Intelligent Space Assembly Robotic System: the Path to Flight

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D. Wenberg et al. (2018), JBIS, 71, pp.250-254

Refcode: 2018.71.250
Keywords: RSat, On Orbit Assembly

The advent and proliferation of autonomous robotic systems have revolutionized terrestrial manufacturing. By reducing human involvement, production rates have soared while costs have plummeted. This same revolution has yet to make the jump to space. Current robotic arms in space are primarily human controlled and are not entrusted to operate independently. While construction of larger objects in orbit has been augmented by such robotic arms, their operation is slowed by communications delays from the ground as well as the cost and time it takes to launch a human operator into space. The limitations on spacecraft size as dictated by rocket capability serves as an impediment to operating larger and more advanced spacecraft. The U.S. Naval Academy is seeking to improve this assembly process with the Intelligent Space Assembly Robot (ISAR) system. ISAR combines current space robotic arms developed by the Naval Academy with an ability to operate autonomously. This paper will discuss the design modifications for the on orbit demonstrator as well as the design and preliminary results from the ground test platform. The paper will outline the full concept of operations of the robotic system.

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