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Space Technology Research Grants

Versatile Manipulation for Assistive Free-Flyers

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Project Introduction

Versatile Manipulation for Assistive Free-Flyers
Assistive Free-Flyers (AFFs) are flying robots designed to share the living space with human astronauts in orbit. These robots have shown the potential to assist astronauts with tasks such as surveillance, inspection, and mapping. However, AFFs are currently designed without manipulation capabilities, and can thus be deployed mainly for sensing and observation. In this project, we aim to provide AFFs with the capability to physically interact with the environment through manipulation. We plan to equip AFFs with compact yet dexterous robotic arms and hands developed in this project, along with the planning and control methods needed to operate them. We aim to demonstrate new capabilities on tasks such as object acquisition and transport, part insertion and extraction, button or lever operation, docking and perching. We believe these abilities will greatly increase AFFs' reach, literally and figuratively. More »

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Technology Maturity (TRL)

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