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SBIR/STTR

COBRA-Bee Carpal-Wrist Gimbal for Astrobee, Phase I

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

TUI proposes to develop a carpal-wrist gimbal payload for the Astrobee free-flier, called 'COBRA-Bee' to satisfy Astrobee mission needs for a lightweight, integrated end-effector/tool/sensor positioning and pointing system. The COBRA-Bee is an evolution of TUI's high-TRL, 3-DOF COBRA gimbal that will provide Astrobee end-effectors with the workspace dexterity of a full robotic manipulator (6-DOF via Astrobee fan system + 3-DOF via COBRA-Bee). COBRA-Bee will support target acquisition and tracking experiments for high performance optical communication. It can also support sensors which have limited field-of-view, such as cameras, as well as sensors/end-effectors requiring high pointing accuracy and/or independence from spacecraft attitude control. The 3-DOF (azimuth, elevation, and extension) of COBRA-Bee will support Astrobee experiments with pushing operations for fanless microgravity mobility. COBRA-Bee will provide this precise multi-purpose pointing and positioning capability in a small-scale tightly integrated COTS product, with an interface to support third-party sensors, end-effectors, and tools. The Phase I effort will define requirements for a detailed design, based upon a crew safety analysis and a survey of candidate Astrobee end-effectors. A demonstration will be performed with existing COBRA hardware, maturing the COBRA-Bee TRL to 4. The Phase II effort will develop, test, and deliver an engineering unit and control software. More »

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