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Remote Handling for Space Applications

Stephen Sanders

From: Robotics Space Exploration Lecture, Teachers Building, Glasgow, 12 December 2012

12 December 2012  Control & Automation channel

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About the presentation

Space robotics have been successfully used for many years. This event will explore remote handling of robots for complex assembly and maintenance tasks and show some conceptual development work to improve the sustainability of space technology related systems such as satellites in service and refueling.

Space robotics has been with us for many years with some notable success stories. These include large robotic arms used on the International Space Station and robotic missions to the surface of Mars. The continued drive to explore other planets will require a level of interaction with these environments that is beyond previous robotic probes. To fully explore these environments will require increasing levels of dexterity. This trend is already evident with the robotic sampling devices of Beagle2, EXOMARS and the excellent Curiosity rover presently exploring the surface of Mars. Much of this technology is comprised of bespoke robotic modules developed over many years to perform specific tasks such as collection, drilling or crushing which present payload challenges.
The ability to perform a wide range of complex remote tasks including those unforeseen by the mission team, with an optimised payload would seem a worthwhile goal. Remote handling for complex assembly and maintenance tasks has been pioneered at the JET nuclear fusion project for the past 19 years. This talk will examine the lessons learnt from this experience and see how they have been applied to space related projects.

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