A New Space Robot End-Effector for On-Orbit Reflector Assembly
JAPAN AEROSPACE EXPLORATION AGENCY CHOFU (JAPAN) ADVANCED SPACE TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP
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In Earth orbit, astronomical observations are possible, free from absorption or disturbances by the Earths atmosphere. Therefore, some large space telescopes and large space radio telescopes are planned for the future. Launch vehicle payload bay diameters impose severe restrictions on the sizes of these telescopes, and so, structures larger than the payload bay have to be deployed or assembled in orbit. Structures assembled in orbit may have a finer surface accuracy and can be made more rigid than deployable structures. When assembling such large structures, space robots have to move around on the structure. It is necessary to supply power and electronic signals to a robot arm from the structure under construction. Therefore, the power supply line and the communication network have to be incorporated in the structural elements, and the composition which has the connector attaching mechanism of a line was studied. We discuss the design of a telescope reflector which can be assembled in orbit, with its networks and connecting mechanisms suitable for robot tasks. The characteristics of the new end-effector mechanisms and their suitability for onboard assembly tasks were confirmed by test using a two dimensional ground test arm. The test results are also described in this paper.
- Unmanned Spacecraft