Microgravity Experiments With Long Reach Manipulator Systems
Martin Marietta Astronautics, Denver, CO and NASA
Dubowsky, S., Pisoni, A.C. and Mavroidis, C.
Long reach manipulator systems (LRMS) are being considered as a promising
solution to the problem of performing remotely operated servicing tasks in
space. The proposed Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) mounted on the
Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) is an example of long reach
manipulator space systems now being developed. While having significant
potential, the use LRMS requires the solution of some fundamental control
problems that can seriously limit their performance. A key problem is that
external disturbances and the motion of the manipulator itself can excite low
frequency, lightly damped vibrations of the systems deployable structure. These
vibrations would make the system difficult to control. Control methods have been
developed to solve this problem, but they have yet to be tested in space. In
this NASA INSTEP (In-Space Technology Experimental Program) project an
experimental system that, would test in micro-gravity, in a future space shuttle
mission, is being designed. It is expected that this system will fly sometime in
the next 3 to 4 years.
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