Space Robotics

Space is an inhospitable environment for human presence, thus making a particularly interesting domain for robotic presence. Space Robotics encompasses two tracks: the orbital track, targeting robot vehicles in microgravity environments, such as orbital or deep space voyages; and the planetary track, encompassing robots that either operate on the surface of planets or small bodies, as asteroids, or near then, e.g., landers.

At IRSg we have been interested in several problems in the domain of Space Robotics. These include:

  • collaborative free-flyer robots for intra-vehicular microgravity environments, namely inside a space stations, such as the ISS, in interaction with astronauts
  • mobile robots for planetary exploration, such as on the surface of Mars or the Moon
  • innovative attitude control mechanisms, such as reaction sphere actuators, holding several advantages over conventional reacton wheels
  • formation state estimation and control for multiple spacecraft formation, including a complete Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GN&C) system

INFANTE: Microsatellite for constellation-based EO and Communications (P2020 10/SI/2016)

Space CoBot: autonomous flying robot to assist astronauts inside space stations in orbit (internal)

FEMDS: Formation Estimation Methodologies for Distributed Spacecraft (ESA, 2003-2006)

HROSS: High Resolution Optical Satellite Sensor (EUCLID RTP9.9, 2002-2005)

MVFLAU: Feasibility Study of In-Flight Model validation and Performance Analysis of Launchers GNC (ESA, 2013-2015)

Pedro Roque and Rodrigo Ventura. A Space CoBot for personal assistance in space stations. In IJCAI Workshop on Autonomous Mobile Service Robots, New York, 2016. IJCAI.

Pedro Roque and Rodrigo Ventura. Space CoBot: modular design of an holonomic aerial robot for indoor microgravity environments. In IEEE/RSJ International Conference On Intelligent Robots And Systems (IROS), 2016.