Mobile Robotic System for Ground-Testing of Multi-Spacecraft Proximity Operations
Ground testing of multi-spacecraft proximity operations with hardware in-the-loop is currently an expensive and challenging process. We present our approach to this problem, applicable to proximity operations of small spacecraft. We are developing a novel autonomous mobile robotic system to emulate full 6 degree of freedom relative motion at high fidelity. An omni-directional robotic base provides unlimited 3-DOF planar motion with moderate precision, while a micron-class hexapod on top provides high precision, limited 6-DOF motion. This multi-vehicle robotic system is designed to accommodate multiple untethered vehicles simultaneously, allowing for the real-time emulation of relative motion for a large variety of multi-spacecraft proximity operations. Compared with other facilities with similar goals, this approach will allow greater freedom of motion at a target operating cost much lower than existing facilities. We believe these capabilities will be invaluable to the growing number of small and micro satellite programs. 2008 by the authors.
name of conference
AIAA Modeling and Simulation Technologies Conference and Exhibit