Posts Tagged ‘American’

1989 – MOSAP (MObile Surface APplication traverse vehicle) – NASA (American)

MOSAP lunar x640 1989   MOSAP (MObile Surface APplication traverse vehicle)   NASA (American)

American manned lunar rover. Study 1989. MOSAP (MObile Surface APplication traverse vehicle) was the pressurized lunar rover that was the key to NASA’s 90-Day-Study moon base concept of 1989. It would greatly extend the range of manned lunar expeditions. MOSAP had a maximum range of 3000 km with a nominal speed of 10 kph.

MOSAP moonpcrv 1989   MOSAP (MObile Surface APplication traverse vehicle)   NASA (American)

MOSAP interior. This vehicle would expand research operations to a range of hundreds of kilometers from the outpost. MOSAP would provide a shirtsleeve environment for missions lasting up to two weeks. The robotic manipulators can be used for collecting soil samples.

MOSAP l hang 1989   MOSAP (MObile Surface APplication traverse vehicle)   NASA (American)

An unpressurized lunar hangar will be used for assembling and maintaining equipment and vehicles such as MOSAP.

The complete system consisted of four modules to allow flexibility in mission planning — a Primary Control Research Vehicle (PCRV), a habitation unit, an auxiliary power cart, and an experiment and sample trailer. Each unit could be individually operated or connected in a train configuration. This vehicle would expand research operations to a range of hundreds of kilometers from the outpost.  The robotic manipulators could be used for collecting soil samples.

Source: here.


See other early Space Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.


1983 – Beam Assembly Teleoperator (BAT) – University of Maryland (American)

aramis mit ff tele BAT 1983   Beam Assembly Teleoperator (BAT)   University of Maryland (American)

1983 M.I.T. Beam Assembly Teleoperator (BAT)

The SSL was founded in 1976 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Its early studies in space construction techniques eventually led to the EASE (Experimental Assembly of Structures in EVA) flight experiment which flew on Space Shuttle mission STS-61B in late 1985. EASE was designed to evaluate the ability of astronauts to build structures in space.

The success of EASE led to questions about how well robots could construct structures in space. The SSL’s first neutral buoyancy robot, the Beam Assembly Teleoperator (BAT), was built in 1983 specifically to construct the EASE structure. Over BAT’s lifetime, SSL personnel accumulated a large database comparing human and robot performance in space. BAT also demonstrated the ability of robots to assist astronauts during EVA excursions and to service and repair satellites.

batp09 x640 1983   Beam Assembly Teleoperator (BAT)   University of Maryland (American)

BAT HST 1 x640 1983   Beam Assembly Teleoperator (BAT)   University of Maryland (American)    bat2 x640 1983   Beam Assembly Teleoperator (BAT)   University of Maryland (American) bat3 x640 1983   Beam Assembly Teleoperator (BAT)   University of Maryland (American) BAT assembly x640 1983   Beam Assembly Teleoperator (BAT)   University of Maryland (American)

The Beam Assembly Teleoperator (BAT) was designed to assemble the same structure used by the Space Systems Laboratory for the Experimental Assembly of Structures in EVA (EASE) program. EASE involved two pressure-suited subjects repeatedly assembling a six-element tetrahedral truss, and included both neutral buoyancy simulation and a shuttle flight experiment flown on STS 61-B in late 1985. By choosing as a design case to assemble this same structure, direct comparisons could be made between EVA and the telerobotic assembly, as well as correlation to the flight experiment. This structure was designed to be challenging for EVA assembly; no major modifications in the structure were allowed for simplifying the task for robotic assembly. Thus, BAT was designed from the outset to be as capable as EVA for this one specific assembly task, and generically capable of a variety of other EVA tasks as well.

The basic design of BAT was based on a self-contained mobility base, with vision and manipulation systems attached. The mobility base contained the control electronics, on-board power supplies, and the other support systems, as well as eight electrically-powered ducted propellers for underwater motion. Careful attention has to be paid to simulation fidelity in the neutral buoyancy environment, and floatation panels and trim weights were attached to the base unit to adjust the centers of buoyancy and gravity to be coincident, such that the vehicle has no preferred orientation. In the current configuration, BAT is equipped with two pairs of stereo monochrome video cameras, one five degree of freedom dexterous general purpose manipulator, a non-articulated grappling arm for grasping the structure under assembly, and a specialized manipulator for performing the coarse alignment task for the long struts of the truss assembly. This combination of a flexible, generalized manipulator and “pick and place” specialized manipulator for selected tasks proved to be a useful approach to the design of a structural assembly telerobot.

Sourced from here and here.

“The Space Systems Laboratory (SSL) is dedicated to making human beings more productive while working in space. We believe that both humans and robots, working together, are necessary to accomplish this goal. We are currently developing robotic systems capable of assisting astronauts in EVA (spacewalk) tasks, thus making EVA excursions shorter and safer, and in some cases allowing astronauts to perform tasks that would otherwise be impossible. We also study the ways the human body works in space, quantify human abilities in orbit, and design tools and systems to help astronauts work in space.

The SSL was established in 1976 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by MIT faculty members Renee Miller and J.W. Mar. Its early studies in space construction techniques eventually led to the EASE (Experimental Assembly of Structures in EVA) flight experiment which flew on Space Shuttle mission STS-61B in late 1985. EASE was designed to evaluate the ability of astronauts to build structures in space.

Other early SSL work with Richard Stallman and Marvin Minsky resulted in the Aramis study, an early influential paper on the use of automation in space exploration. In addition, the SSL developed the first neutral buoyancy version of a Manned Manuevering Unit, which allows astronauts to fly untethered around the Space Shuttle. NASA now uses SAFER, a similar device, to ensure the safety of astronauts during EVA excursions.

The Space Systems Lab was founded at MIT in 1976, by faculty members Renee Miller and J.W. Mar. Its early studies in space construction techniques led to the EASE (Experimental Assembly of Structures in EVA) flight experiment which flew on Space Shuttle mission STS-61-B in 1985.
In 1990, lab director Dr. Dave Akin moved the lab to the University of Maryland. The Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility, or NBRF, was completed in 1992. Current projects include the MX suits, simplified spacesuits for use in EVA research; Exo-SPHERES, a prototype satellite for inspection missions, and DYMAFLEX, a light-weight high performance manipulator developed for controls testing in a highly coupled dynamic environment.
The Space Systems Laboratory (SSL) is part of the Aerospace Engineering Department and A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland. A leader in the area of astronautics, the Space Systems Laboratory is centered around the Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility, a 50-foot diameter, 25-foot deep water tank that is used to simulate the microgravity environment of space. The only such facility housed at a university, Maryland’s neutral buoyancy tank is used for undergraduate and graduate research at the Space Systems Lab. Research in Space Systems emphasizes space robotics, human factors, applications of artificial intelligence and the underlying fundamentals of space simulation. There are currently many systems being tested, including Ranger, a four-armed satellite repair robot, and EUCLID, a 6 degree of freedom free-flying underwater camera platform.”


See other early Space Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.


1959 – Lunar Construction Vehicle from Project HORIZON – U.S. Army (American)

ProjHorizon 59 SaLunarConstructionVehicle x640 1959   Lunar Construction Vehicle from Project HORIZON   U.S. Army (American)

Lunar Construction Vehicle with manipulator arms.

1974Thenext50yearsonthemoon21 x640 1959   Lunar Construction Vehicle from Project HORIZON   U.S. Army (American)

Above image from “The Next 50 Years on the Moon”, 1974.

NASA Study Summary: “Project Horizon, Vol 2, Technical Considerations and Plans”

Here’s a big study from 1959, done by the US Army, right about the time NASA was just becoming a going concern. There was a lot of interservice and interagency rivalry at the time with the AF and Army and Navy vying for the opportunity to dominate the space field– a field which Eisenhower SPECIFICALLY wanted the military excluded from to the extent possible… hence the creation of the civilian NASA in late 1958.

Here’s Project Horizon, the US Army’s plan to build a 12 man moonbase by 1965-66. The plan calls for the use of the ABMA’s Saturn booster (Saturn I) with an upgraded “Saturn II” to follow, using upgraded “H-2″ engines (seriously upgraded H-1 engines from Saturn I). Project Horizon would also leverage existing technology by using the Titan I first stage as a second stage, and the Centaur, which was starting development by this time, as a third stage, with plans for an enlarged Centaur for the second and third stages of Saturn II and a smaller Centaur-based fourth stage for both rockets. It also planned to develop in-space refueling (what was later called “Earth Orbit Rendezvous” for the lunar mission, using several Saturn I and Saturn II launches to lift the fuel and equipment to orbit… which this report coming out of ABMA, which employed Von Braun and his team as the stars at the time, it only makes sense that this report closely mirrors Von Braun and Co.’s ideas about how to do a moon mission once Kennedy gave it the nod, though Houbolt proved that Lunar Orbit Rendezvous was the only way to do it within the decade target Kennedy set). The report even talks about the possibility of an 8 F-1 engined super booster that would later become known as NOVA. There’s also information about nuclear upper stages, which would supplement the Saturn I and Saturn II and F-1 superbooster and could end up landing as much as 420,000 lbs of cargo on the moon! There’s also a 2001 ring-like space station to serve as refuelling point for outbound lunar rockets, and several different lunar landers, all of which would use liquid hydrogen descent propulsion coupled with hypergolic ascent propulsion, later hopefully replaced with hydrogen ascent propulsion to improve performance. Even the idea of nuclear landers is thrown around…

A new equatorial launch center was to be built, most likely either on Christmas Island in the mid-Pacific, 2 degrees north of the equator, or on the Brazilian coast, 2 degrees south of the equator. The flightrate of Saturns to support the program was estimated at 5.3 launches PER MONTH! (ambitious, weren’t they!) Also, there were plans for two new space centers, one to do research on the basic problems of the designing the vehicles and their payloads and systems, the other having two facilities designed specifically to address the human factors and astronaut training and simulate the lunar and space environment. Basically this is the genesis of the idea for what became the Marshall Space Flight Center after the ABMA and it’s team and facilities were handed over to NASA from the Army by Eisenhower, to do the research into building the rockets and the systems to support them, and the astronaut training facility and human program research center (along with mission control) which later became the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Source: Luke Strawwalker


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See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.


1984-7 – Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV) + Kits – NASA (American)

OMV NASA x640 1984 7   Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV) + Kits   NASA (American)

An OMV leaves the payload bay of a Shuttle to deliver or retrieve satellites in orbits beyond the reach of the Shuttle itself.

OMV diag x640 1984 7   Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV) + Kits   NASA (American)

The basic OMV configuration. Any manipulator arm attachments are via appropriate kits, such as Integrated Operations Servicing System (IOSS) and Tumbling Satellite Recovery (TSR) both shown below. These are front-ended to the OMV.

telepresence console x640 1984 7   Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV) + Kits   NASA (American)

This is the OMV control console in the simulator assembled at Marshall Space Flight Center. The operator uses “telepresence” to guide the spacecraft through a docking manoeuvre.

OMV model x640 1984 7   Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV) + Kits   NASA (American)

A model of an Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle float on air-bearing pads in the “flat floor” simulation facility at the Marshall Space Flight Center.

space manipulator warden 0003 Copy x640 1984 7   Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV) + Kits   NASA (American)

OMV with IOSS kit.

space manipulator warden 0005 Copy 2 Copy x640 1984 7   Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV) + Kits   NASA (American)

Simulation exercises have shown that the IOSS manipulator arm is capable of replacing faulty electronic modules in ailing spacecraft.

space manipulator OMV test2 x640 1984 7   Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV) + Kits   NASA (American)

Shown here is the IOSS mock-up at Marshall SFC. At the top is the dummy satellite that needs repair, in the centre the IOSS robot arm, below which is the IOSS craft itself.

    OMV Manipulator MM x640 1984 7   Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV) + Kits   NASA (American)

Martin Marietta has developed a Protoflight Manipulator Arm for space operations that can perform intricate jobs, such as reconnection of wires and opening of doors. The end-effector is shown in detail below.

JPL PFMA Smart Hand x640 1984 7   Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV) + Kits   NASA (American)

 OMV TSR kit x640 1984 7   Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV) + Kits   NASA (American)

The OMV with a Tumbling Satellite Recovery Kit.


American space tug. Cancelled 1987. The Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV) was an important component in NASA’s future Space Station plans in the 1980s.
As a separately funded part of the 1984 Space Station plan, the OMV was intended as a short range robotic ‘space tug’ that could move payloads about in the vicinity of the Shuttle and Space Station.
NASA awarded three $1-million study contracts to Vought, Martin Marietta and TRW in July 1984. The total estimated cost was then $400 million.
TRW won the $205-million OMV phase B contract in June 1986. The TRW Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle would use a separate propellant / propulsion module that would be returned to Earth for refueling by the Shuttle. The TRW Orbital Transfer Vehicle could also be equipped with enlarged propellant tanks for demanding missions.
The OMV was then combined with the Flight Telerobotic Service into the Robotic Satellite Servicer concept. However estimated costs had grown to $465 million by 1987, soon after which further work was cancelled.

Text by Marcus Lindroos


See other early Space Teleoperators here.

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1982-4 – Telepresence Servicer Unit (TSU) – Akin/Minsky (American)

free flyer hybrid mit TSU 1982 4   Telepresence Servicer Unit (TSU)   Akin/Minsky (American)

The 1982-4 – Telepresence Servicer Unit (TSU) Concept.

MIT TSU x640 1982 4   Telepresence Servicer Unit (TSU)   Akin/Minsky (American)

Free-Flying Teleoperator
1. Thrusters
2. Vision sensors
3. Anchor arm
4. Manipulator arm
5. Vision sensor
6. Gripper
7. Thermal insulation
8. Light
9. Light
10. End effector rack
11. Spare part rack
12. Anchor arm
13. Communications and navigation antennas.

As awarded under the Space Applications of Automation, Robotics and Machine Intelligence Systems (ARAMIS) -Telepresence program on June 10,1982 by NASA/MSFC, this craft was designed by researchers Akin and Minsky at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in association with NASA. It is called the Telepresence Servicer Unit (TSU) and is intended as a remote servicer which would be compatible with several spacecraft, and capable of performing maintenance to the same level as a man could in space. It would employ the concept of telepresence by which a human operator on Earth could direct the robot craft in space as if he were really there. Two arms would grapple the ailing satellite, two others perform repairs.

ARAMIS x640 1982 4   Telepresence Servicer Unit (TSU)   Akin/Minsky (American)

For further detail, see pdfs here and here.

TSU arm x226 1982 4   Telepresence Servicer Unit (TSU)   Akin/Minsky (American)

This Grumman remote manipulator arm could be used on the Telepresence Servicer Unit.


The final ARAMIS report included other concepts:

aramis mit ff tele BAT 1982 4   Telepresence Servicer Unit (TSU)   Akin/Minsky (American)

M.I.T. Beam Assembly Teleoperator (BAT)

aramis mit ff tele retrieval 1982 4   Telepresence Servicer Unit (TSU)   Akin/Minsky (American)

Space Telescope Retrieval concept by Vought.

aramis mit ff tele servicer 1982 4   Telepresence Servicer Unit (TSU)   Akin/Minsky (American)

ROSS Servicer by Martin Marietta.

978 3 540 30301 5 46 Fig1 HTML 1982 4   Telepresence Servicer Unit (TSU)   Akin/Minsky (American)

Early ARAMIS conceptual design.


See other early Space Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.