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About this book

This book provides readers with basic concepts and design theories for space robots and presents essential methodologies for implementing space robot engineering by introducing several concrete projects as illustrative examples. Readers will gain a comprehensive understanding of professional theories in the field of space robots, and will find an initial introduction to the engineering processes involved in developing space robots. Rapid advances in technologies such as the Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, and Artificial Intelligence have also produced profound changes in space robots. With the continuous expansion of human exploration of the universe, it is imperative for space robots to be capable of sharing knowledge, working collaboratively, and becoming more and more intelligent so as to optimize the utilization of space resources. For on-orbit robots that perform service tasks such as spacecraft assembly and maintenance, as well as exploration robots that carry out research tasks on planetary surfaces, the rational integration into a network system can greatly improve their capabilities in connection with executing outer space tasks, such as information gathering and utilization, independent decision-making and planning, risk avoidance, and reliability, while also significantly reducing resource consumption for the system as a whole.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

1. Introduction

Abstract
Nowadays, the term “Space Robotics” is very familiar to those working in the field of robotics, but there is still no universally accepted definition of a “space robot”. Lin Yiming et al. defined space robots in their work “The Current Status and Analysis of Space Robots” as “a class of special robots that perform tasks in space such as the support for the construction and operation of space stations, the satellite assembly and service, and the planetary surface exploration and testing”.
Yaobing Wang

2. Kinematics and Dynamics of Space Robots

Abstract
Kinematics and dynamics are the basis of analyzing the characteristics and control of space robots. In this chapter, the kinematics equations of a typical space robot system are given, including a description of topological relationships and the kinematics modeling process, which can be used for robot dynamics analysis and path planning. Based on analytical mechanics and vector mechanics, the dynamic models for rigid space robots and flexible space robots are established in this chapter, which can be used for robot dynamics analysis and control algorithm design.
Yaobing Wang

3. Motion Planning of Space Robot

Abstract
For different types of space robots, motion planning has different meanings. Motion planning of space robots usually refers to the process of generating the desired motion trajectory in the robot joint space or Cartesian space according to the mission target.
Yaobing Wang

4. Motion Control of Space Robots

Abstract
After the motion planning for space robots, the planned trajectory tracking will be implemented by joint motion.
Yaobing Wang

5. Force Control of Space Robot

Abstract
Position control is capable of handling the tasks in which the robot is not interacting significantly with the environment. However, in many applications, the robot will inevitably contact and interact with the objects in its workspace and thus generate the forces of interaction. In this case, it is necessary not only to control the movement of the robot, but also to ensure that the contact force meets the requirements.
Yaobing Wang

6. Space Robot System

Abstract
Space robot system is a complex space system based on mechanics and control discipline, involving expertise and technologies in aerospace, materials, instruments, mechanics, optics, electronics, communications, computers, software, etc.
Yaobing Wang

7. Space Robot Mechanical System

Abstract
Mechanical system is the core of space robot, which is used to enable the motion functions of space robot, and its performance directly affects the application effect of space robot. Mechanical system design generally includes material selection and structural parts design, mechanism parts/components design, space lubrication design, and verification scheme design. The mechanical environmental conditions are the main constraints on the mechanical system design of space robot.
Yaobing Wang

8. Space Robot Control System

Abstract
The space robot control system consists of command scheduling layer, motion planning layer, and execution control layer.
Yaobing Wang

9. Space Robot Perception System

Abstract
Space robots involve different operating objects and operating environments while performing missions. For example, for on-orbit servicing robots, the operating objects are mostly cooperative targets with the preset visual markers and dedicated operation interfaces, and the operating environment is a spacecraft surface structured environment, while for planetary exploration robots, the operating objects are mostly noncooperative targets without visual markers or dedicated operation interfaces, and the environment features are unknown and unstructured. Space robot perception refers to the process in which the space robot obtains the information of the operating objects and the operating environments by analyzing raw data generated by various sensors onboard.
Yaobing Wang

10. Space Robot Teleoperation System

Abstract
Teleoperation system is an interactive tool between human and space robot. The process is: the operator acquires the information of the space robot and environment through the teleoperation system, judges its working state and gives the follow-up motion instructions, and sends them to the space robot through the teleoperation system; the space robot performs the desired motion. Therefore, as the control equipment of the space robot, the teleoperation system has two tasks: one is to sense and feedback the state of the space robot; the other is to convert the operator’s operational intention or action into instructions.
Yaobing Wang

11. Space Robot System Verification

Abstract
Each spacecraft has to undergo comprehensive and rigorous ground verification prior to launch, and space robots are no exception. There are two ways for the ground verification for general spacecraft: simulation and physical testing, and the latter is the most commonly adopted method. Physical test of spacecraft at assembly-level is generally easier to conduct with full coverage of test conditions, because the ground simulation environment in which the products actually work can be easily set up. However, due to the size and weight (including payload weight) of the space robot system, as well as the challenge of simulating the on-orbit microgravity (or low gravity) environment in which the space robot systems are supposed to work, system-level ground verification test for space robot systems is very difficult to carry out. So, system verification of space robots is more difficult than that of general space mechanisms.
Yaobing Wang

12. Design Example of Large Space Manipulator

Abstract
At present, the application of large space manipulators mainly focuses on the field of manned space, such as the construction and operational support of space station.
Yaobing Wang

13. Design Example of Planetary Exploration Mobile Robot

Abstract
Mobile robot is the main tool for wide range exploration of extraterrestrial surfaces. At present, the successful applications of mobile robot are mainly to explore the surface of lunar and Mars.
Yaobing Wang

14. Design Example of Planetary Surface Sampling Manipulator

Abstract
Planetary surface sampling manipulators are space robots that perform sampling tasks on the planet surface. They are usually mounted on a planetary lander or a planetary rover to perform multi-point sampling and other operations.
Yaobing Wang

15. Current State of Space Robots

Abstract
In 1981, the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS), developed by Canada, was put into orbit by the space shuttle Columbia, becoming the world’s first on-orbit operating robot for space applications (Siciliano and Khatib in Handbook of robotics. Springer, New York (2007) [1]).
Yaobing Wang

16. Future Prospects of Space Robots

Abstract
Space robots have appeared and developed along with mission requirements and has been continuously upgraded and iterated with the propulsion of related technologies. It is foreseeable that the future development of space robotics will be closely related to the tasks of manned spaceflight, deep space exploration, and on-orbit services. Driven by the mission demands, space robotics will integrate the latest achievements in the development of science and technology, and will be constantly improved in form, function, and performance to meet the needs of space missions.
Yaobing Wang
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