The flexibility and advantages of using robotic systems for space applications have been successfully implemented in several projects such as Canadarm I and II, ETA-VII or Orbital Express, among others, which employ robotic manipulators as a tool for handling construction elements, satellites, or even automatic capsules. In this way, the required robot sizes range from hundreds of kilograms to one and a half tons of mass. In contrast, HOMER is focused not only On-Orbit Servicing (OOS) operations but also on extra vehicular activities, where the task space is limited. Therefore the device to be developed is a 1 meter long modular robot manipulator (Fig.1), composed of 24 links (hyper-redundant), which could be packed in 1U CubeSat standards (10 cm per side) and an expected mass of half a kg. Its innovative design gives it also a transfer potential, where in combination with iSSI (Fig.2) interface, it is presented as a modular solution for the vehicle industry production lines, allowing the reconfiguration in a very flexible way.
Fig.1. HOMER-Cube concept. 24-link robot manipulator
in the 1U CubeSat standard.
Fig.2. HOMER-Terra concept. Left: One module composed by
one motor and iSSI interfaces on each side. Right: iSSI interface.
The modular principle followed is to break the links in two parts (Fig.3), which means half of one link is always attached to the half of the next link, thus the minimum configuration is a 1DOF robot. In Fig.4 the possible reconfigurations to be performed during the test are shown, where in the representation the blue lines are the link bodies, the white boxes are the coupling interfaces and the blue box would by a dummy payload.
The project is being carried out in cooperation with the following partner:
Institut für Strukturmechanik und Leichtbau (SLA), RWTH Aachen University
This work is supported (support code 50RP1960A) by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy on the basis of a decision by the German Bundestag.
Enrico Stoll, Carlos de Alba-Padilla, Ake Tienken, Stephan Rediske. A highly redundant compact robot manipulator supporting orbital robotics on CubeSats. ESA 4S Symposium 2018 (Sorrento, Italy).
Carlos de Alba-Padilla, M. Sc.
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