Archive for the ‘Teleoperators’ Category

1979 – Manned Orbital Transfer Vehicle (MOTV) – Grumman (American)

motv 81 p1   Copy x640 1979   Manned Orbital Transfer Vehicle (MOTV)   Grumman (American)

Manned Orbital Transfer Vehicle (MOTV) proposal by Grumman.

motv 81 p2 x640 1979   Manned Orbital Transfer Vehicle (MOTV)   Grumman (American)

Rationale for MOTV use:
. Servicing satellites remotely using teleoperators operated from earch is more complex, less versatile, and less reliable than having man "on site" to perform this function.
. Servicing and checkout is more thorough with man on-site, and contingencies can be more readily handled.

motv 81 p3 x640 1979   Manned Orbital Transfer Vehicle (MOTV)   Grumman (American)

motv 81 p4 x640 1979   Manned Orbital Transfer Vehicle (MOTV)   Grumman (American)

Equipments and facilities. The items available for IVA (Intra Vehicular Activity) are:
. Stabilizer
This is a device for berthing to the workpiece, for holding it in a proferred position to be worked on and for moving the workpiece relative to the MOTV. It is an articulated arm, mounted to the forward end of the crew capsule, between windows. Its length can be varied to suit a mission by adding or subtracting one of the articulating segments. At its tip is an end effector to grasp a fitting on the workplace, thus mating the MOTV to the workplace.
. Manipulator System
It is a master/slave manipulator system comprising two external slave arms, each operated from a master control within the cabin. The manipulators are bi-lateral fprce reflecting and they can be moved independently and concurrently. Each slave arm has seven degrees of freedom (DOF).
Figure 1.5.3 above shows a typical dexterous manipulator arrangement for both master and slave units. Overall length of the slave is provisionally set at 2.5M. The end effector design will be dependent upon the mission.
The two slave manipulators are mounted to the structure which supports berthing/docking ring.
. Viewing Window
It is intended that the work area shall be viewed directly by the manipulator operator and by the stabilizer operator whenever possible.
. TV Camera
If required, a TV camera may be mounted on the tip of one manipulator to examine something not seen by direct viewing.

motv 81 p6 x640 1979   Manned Orbital Transfer Vehicle (MOTV)   Grumman (American)

motv 81 p7 x640 1979   Manned Orbital Transfer Vehicle (MOTV)   Grumman (American)

motv 81 p8 x640 1979   Manned Orbital Transfer Vehicle (MOTV)   Grumman (American)

MOTV 1989 config x640 1979   Manned Orbital Transfer Vehicle (MOTV)   Grumman (American)


motv concept 89 x640 1979   Manned Orbital Transfer Vehicle (MOTV)   Grumman (American)

motv concept 2 89 x640 1979   Manned Orbital Transfer Vehicle (MOTV)   Grumman (American)

A later depiction of the MOTV from 1989.


See other early Space Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.


1954 – “Bottle Suit” – Wernher von Braun / Walt Disney (American)

von braun bottle suit bw1 1954   Bottle Suit   Wernher von Braun / Walt Disney (American)

"Bottle Suit"

vonBraun 1954 Bottle 1 1954   Bottle Suit   Wernher von Braun / Walt Disney (American)

Wernher von Braun holding model of the Bottle Suit.

Bottle Suit

The Bottle Suit shows that when you plan to make your dreams come true, you have to create a number of intermediate solutions to problems you didn't anticipate. Problems like how to assemble a Space Station in Space. In order to assemble his proposed space station Von Braun designed a new, one man type of spaceship, a spacesuit.  The Bottle suit evolved as part personal spaceship and part Swiss Army Knife.

This was probably the first space suit von Braun had designed specifically with the idea of allowing a single person extended duration in space.  It would be used to assemble, not only the space station, but all the additional ships needed for his proposed Moon and Mars expeditions.

A versatile suit for construction, it was Gyro stabilized and had seven arms with different tools attached to each arm for the operator to use.  Because you cannot put tools “down” when working in space you better always have them attached to you to prevent them from floating away. And because of that, the Bottle suit was well equipped for construction jobs in space.       .

Also interesting is that it had rocket propulsion both at the top of the suit and below the suit to ensure it could both accelerate and decelerate. However, I have found no indication that it had any yaw or pitch thrusters to control its movement in those directions. Therefore it must have been using gyroscopes internally for rotating in these axes.  This is an important pioneering development of a truly radical concept that would allow humans to work in space. Source: RogersRocketships.

disney von braun 1954   Bottle Suit   Wernher von Braun / Walt Disney (American)

Walt Disney with Wernher von Braun.

Selected von Braun text from the 1955 Walt Disney film, Trip around the Moon.

".. For the difficult job of re-assembling the structure [space station] we have provided a new type of space suit. Using gyros and two small rocket motors the operator can tilt and move in any direction. Located outside would be seven remotely controlled mechanical arms, each a speacilized tool. By rotating himself within the space suit, the operator can use any of the arms of the variety of tasks in ass,embling the space station. …"

"… Two crew members make their way to the cargo ship. First the motor and tanks are detached. Then two bottle-type construction suits are removed from the hull. When fitted in the air-lock, each of these construction suits will receive an operator. …"

"The sections of the cargo ship are moved back to make way for other supply rockets soon to arrive."

"Construction of the space wheel now begins…The sides of the cargo .. are mechanically separated.  Built-in tanks compressed air inflate the inner section of the hub..

Thin metal plates are immediately placed over the thin plastic … outside to protect it from meteorites …The first workday in space draws to a close."

"Every 24-hours another cargo rocket will arrive in orbit. and the air-lock it attached .. to the sub-section and used as temporary quarters for eating and sleeping.

..can be assembled in the correct order.."


Note: The concept of a man inside a space capsule using manipulator arms largely came into being as a result of the logistics of getting man to the moon and beyond. The Space Station idea was conceived by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in the early 20th century and then by Hermann Oberth about two decades later. In 1929 Herman Potočnik's The Problem of Space Travel was published, the first to envision a "rotating wheel" space station to create artificial gravity. But how to build a space station? Wernher von Braun was possibly, and probably the first to fully articulate the concept. When Walt Disney wanted to make his Space films (1954), von Braun was his consultant, and von Braun's ideas were visualised in the form of a "bottle suit".  Von Braun was thinking about space stations in 1952, possibly earlier. I have not read or heard of Tsiolkovsky, Oberth or Potočnik mentioning space tugs or the like.  The earliest idea I've found to date is the illustrator Klaus Bugle, who, in 1949, produced some illustrations on space station construction and showed space tugs with manipulator arms. Was he illustrating von Braun's ideas, or are these his own? For all intents and purposes, von Braun can be considered the grandfather of Space Station design and construction.

braun bottle 06 1954   Bottle Suit   Wernher von Braun / Walt Disney (American)

Image by Lee Staton.


Gallery of images found on the web.


See other early Space Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.


1970 – Experimental Teleoperator System (T/S) – NASA (American)

remote robot 1970 press detaily x640 1970   Experimental Teleoperator System (T/S)   NASA (American)

nasa teleop space exp p197a x640 1970   Experimental Teleoperator System (T/S)   NASA (American)

TELEOPERATION – OBJECTIVES
The objectives of this FPE are to develop and evaluate an experimental teleoperator (T/O) system. Such a system would be a precursor to an operational system and would provide a means for evaluating teleoperator performance, safety, and suitability for performing various tasks in space. Upon completion of this experimental phase, the system would be converted to an interim operational tool for use with the Space Shuttle or Space Station while final design of a fully operational system was being completed.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION
The experimental teleoperator (T/O) system comprises a small, free-flying T/O spacecraft and a control station. A two-way RF link provides commands to the T/O spacecraft and feedback information to the control station. The T/O system concept is depicted in Figure 5-1 above.
The T/O manipulator arms duplicate the motions of a human controller operating the master manipulator at the control Station. A stereoscopic TV system and manipulator force feedback provide the controller with a feeling of presence at the T/O work site.
The control station may be located in a parent spacecraft or in a ground installation.
An operational T/O system would be used to perform various inspection, assembly, maintenance, and servicing tasks in lieu of performance of these tasks by an astronaut in EVA. The experimental T/O system will be designed to perform representative tasks which will serve as the basis for comparing T/0 capabilities versus those of an EVA astronaut. The experimental teleoperator system to comprised of the following elements:
a. Teleoperator spacecraft.
b. Control station.
c. Support equipment.
d. Ground-based control station.

nasa teleop space exp p198 x640 1970   Experimental Teleoperator System (T/S)   NASA (American)
The teleoperator spacecraft, illustrated in Figure 5-2, consists of a structure housing the spacecraft subsystems, a propellant supply tank, four sets of quad thrusters, a two-axis camera mount, binocular TV cameras and lights, a single close-up TV camera, two manipulator arms with interchangeable end effectors, and three docking arms.
Control of the T/O is accomplished from the control station depicted in Figure 5-1 above.  
The manipulators used on the T/O will be a three-joint design with a separable end effector. The manipulator arms will fold to reduce the envelope of the T/0 for docking and stowage as shown in Figure 5-2. The manipulators will use a closed-loop control system with force feedback to the master manipulator arms at the control station. The basic end effector will be the parallel jaw grasping mechanism. End effectors will be replaceable with special purpose tools, such as power driven wrenches, etc.


remote robot 1970 press 1 x640 1970   Experimental Teleoperator System (T/S)   NASA (American)

WASHINGTON–SPACE SHUTTLE–Inspection of a space shuttle before re-entry by a remote robot. Using a television camera and the arms of a robot an astronaut could control everything from inside the spacecraft.

remote robot 1970 press 4 x640 1970   Experimental Teleoperator System (T/S)   NASA (American)

np2 x640 1970   Experimental Teleoperator System (T/S)   NASA (American)

np2   Copy x640 1970   Experimental Teleoperator System (T/S)   NASA (American)

np2   Copy   Copy x640 1970   Experimental Teleoperator System (T/S)   NASA (American)

Above images released by NASA on November 17, 1970.


See other early Space Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.


1987 – Flight Telerobotic Servicer (FTS) – Grumman (American)

fts grumman 87 x640 1987   Flight Telerobotic Servicer (FTS)   Grumman (American)

The flight telerobotic servicer, or FTS, was conceived as a means of incorporating U.S. robotics technology on Space Station Freedom. The U.S. Congress was interested in advancing both robotics and automation technology for the benefit of the Station, as well as directing spin-offs to the U.S. economy. In addition to ensuring technology transfer between various U.S. industries, the FTS would also serve to provide telerobotics assistance to early Station assembly tasks, service attached scientific payloads, and serve as a telerobotic assistant to EVA crewmembers.

telerobots 87 88 2c x640 1987   Flight Telerobotic Servicer (FTS)   Grumman (American)

17dof arm grumman x640 1987   Flight Telerobotic Servicer (FTS)   Grumman (American)

NASA decided to develop a $288-million FLIGHT TELEROBOTIC SERVICER in 1987 after Congress voiced concern about American competitiveness in the field of robotics. The FTS would also help astronauts assemble the Space Station, which was growing bigger and more complex with each redesign. Martin Marietta and Grumman received $1.5-million study contracts in November 1987. Grumman were losing finalists. The Bush Administration briefly tried to commercialize the FTS project in early 1989. The contractors objected since the FTS had no commercial customers.

arm5 grumman x640 1987   Flight Telerobotic Servicer (FTS)   Grumman (American)

frs 1989 2 x640 1987   Flight Telerobotic Servicer (FTS)   Grumman (American)

The FTS concept was no longer necessary after the Space Station in-orbit assembly procedures were greatly simplified in 1990-91.


See other early Space Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.


1987 – Flight Telerobotic Servicer (FTS) – Martin Marietta (American)

frs martin flight robotic servicer 1989 1 1987   Flight Telerobotic Servicer (FTS)   Martin Marietta (American)

The flight telerobotic servicer, or FTS, was conceived as a means of incorporating U.S. robotics technology on Space Station Freedom. The U.S. Congress was interested in advancing both robotics and automation technology for the benefit of the Station, as well as directing spin-offs to the U.S. economy. In addition to ensuring technology transfer between various U.S. industries, the FTS would also serve to provide telerobotics assistance to early Station assembly tasks, service attached scientific payloads, and serve as a telerobotic assistant to EVA crewmembers.
The prime contract to manufacture the FTS was allocated to Martin Marietta Corp. with NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center (GSFC) serving as the technical/managerial lead for integration onto the Space Station. The FTS was scheduled to fly as part of the Station's first element launch package in 1995, but the FTS program was terminated in 1991 because of SSF budgetary cutbacks. Figure 13 shows the final FTS concept.

 1987   Flight Telerobotic Servicer (FTS)   Martin Marietta (American)

Source: Teleoperation and Robotics in Space, ed. by Carl F. Ruoff, 1994 .

free flight telerobotic servicer fts MARTIN 1987   Flight Telerobotic Servicer (FTS)   Martin Marietta (American)

NASA decided to develop a $288-million FLIGHT TELEROBOTIC SERVICER in 1987 after Congress voiced concern about American competitiveness in the field of robotics. The FTS would also help astronauts assemble the Space Station, which was growing bigger and more complex with each redesign. Martin Marietta and Grumman received $1.5-million study contracts in November 1987. Shown here is the winning design by Martin Marietta, who received a $297-million contract in May 1989 to develop a vehicle by 1993. Grumman were losing finalists. The Bush Administration briefly tried to commercialize the FTS project in early 1989. The contractors objected since the FTS had no commercial customers.

 1987   Flight Telerobotic Servicer (FTS)   Martin Marietta (American)

 1987   Flight Telerobotic Servicer (FTS)   Martin Marietta (American)

The DTF-1 manipulator as used on the FTS. It has 7 degrees-of-freedom and is approximately 5.5 feet long from the shoulder to the toolplate.

 1987   Flight Telerobotic Servicer (FTS)   Martin Marietta (American)

The FTS concept was no longer necessary after the Space Station in-orbit assembly procedures were greatly simplified in 1990-91.


See other early Space Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.