1958 – Astrotug – Lockheed (American)

lockheed astrotug x640 1958   Astrotug   Lockheed (American)

Astrotug in Operation – Artist's Conception

lockheed astrotug 1960 ad x640 1958   Astrotug   Lockheed (American)

The Astrotug

Tugboat for Space: Spaceborne scientific laboratories and platforms for further exploration into space are an accepted concept based on established engineering techniques. Components would be fired  as individual units into space, on precalculated orbits, and there assembled. To solve the major problems of how men are to live and work in space during the assembly process. Lockheed has prepared a detailed engineering design of an astrotug – a manned vehicle housing a crew of two or three. Missile-launched, the astrotug will be capable of supporting its crew for a number of days in an environments of suitable atmosphere, and with provisions for illumination and adequate food and water.
The Lockheed astrotug is a completely independent working vehicle. Personnel need not leave it in space suits in order to work on the project of assembling the space station components. As shown in the diagram, the tug consists of two double-walled pressure vessels approximately 20 feet long overall and 9 feet inside diameter. Swivelling rocket nozzles are arranged for maneuvering. On the forward end, extending out are four mechanical manipulator arms with interchangeable "hands" for such specialized functions as gripping, welding, hammering, cutting, running screws, etc. "Hands" can be changed by remote control from the inside. Viewing ports provide uninterupted observation. Radar antennas, searchlights, and other equipment necessary to the tug's work are mounted externally. Main controls and instruments including radar, radio, infrared, computers and navigational consoles are duplicated in each of the two major compartments as a safety measure.
Men working in single units afloat in space suits would have little applicable force and could work for very limited periods of time. With the Lockheed astrotug, personnel could carry on the work in relative safety and comfort with maximum efficiency. A special reentry vehicle, separate from the astrotug, has been conceived for ferrying to and from earth. Tugs themselved would remain floating in orbit indefinately, being reprovisioned  and refurbished as fresh crews arrive in relief.


lockheed astrotug 2 x640 1958   Astrotug   Lockheed (American)

Astrotug Inboard Profile

lockheed astrotug 1 x640 1958   Astrotug   Lockheed (American)

spaceTug 1963 x500 1958   Astrotug   Lockheed (American)

spaceTug03 x378 1958   Astrotug   Lockheed (American)

spaceTug07 x446 1958   Astrotug   Lockheed (American)

Above 3 images sourced from here.

lockheed spacestation 58 x640 1958   Astrotug   Lockheed (American)

The 1958 Space Station concept for which the tug was proposed to build.

lockheed ferry vehicle 58 x479 1958   Astrotug   Lockheed (American)

The 1958 Transit vehicle to bring crew to the Astrotugs.

lockheed station 63 x250 1958   Astrotug   Lockheed (American)

A 1963 depiction of the Space Station. Note the transition away from the classical 'Wheel' shape.

See other early Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.

1959-61 – Concept O-9 Manned Utility Tug – (American)

 1959 61   Concept O 9 Manned Utility Tug   (American)

Concept O-9: Rendezvous by Manned Utility Tug

From a report compiled between 1959-61 and presented in 1961 are various concepts {Suffixed by 'O' for Orbital Rendezvous). This extract only selects those concepts that have a manipulator component.

Nelson T. Levings, Jr.
Cleveland Pneumatic Industries, Inc.
May 1961
Flight Dynamics Laboratory
Contract No. AF33(616)-6572
Project No. 1369
Task No. 13529
Wright Air Development Division
Air Research and Development Command
United States Air Force
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio

The work described in this report was accomplished by the Instrumentation and Control Division of Cleveland Pneumatic Industries, Inc., under Contract No. AF 33(616)-6572, Project No. 1369, entitled, "Launching and Alightment Systems for Aero-Space Vehicles, Task No. 13529.
This project was administered under the direction of the Flight Dynamics Laboratory, Directorate of Advanced Systems Technology, Wright Air Development Division [WADD], with Mr. Wallace Buzzard as Military Project Engineer, having superseded Lt. Don Austin in January 1960.
This report covers work conducted from June 1959 to January 1961.
Mr. Nelson T. Levings, Jr., was Contractor Project Engineer, assisted by specialized engineering personnel from each Division of Cleveland Pneumatic Industries, Inc.



30 Concept O-1: Attachment by Tail Hook Snag 62
31 Concept O-2: Attachment by Self-Guiding Probe Through Hoop 63
32 Concepts O-3 and O-4: Shock Mitigation between Two (2) Axially Aligned Vehicles 64
33 Arresting Gear for Storing Impact Energy for Subsequent Ejection Departure – Concepts 0-3 and 0-4 65
34 Concept O-5- Remotely Controlled Magnetic Contactor on Freely Swinging Cable 66

concept o 6 unmanned utility tug x640 1959 61   Concept O 9 Manned Utility Tug   (American)

35 Concept O-6: Rendezvous by Utility Tug – Remotely Controlled 67
36 Concept O-7: Attachment by Mechanical Grappling Hook – Close Range 68
37 Thrust Compensator and Line Control for Concept 0-7 69
38 Concept O-8: Orbital Attachment by Self-Guiding Probe 70
39 Concept O-9: Rendezvous by Manned Utility Tug {See top for illustration] 71
40 Concept O-10: Rendezvous by Simple, Remotely Controlled Tug 72
41 Concept O-11: Long Range Attachment by Probe and Drogue – Heat or Light Sensitive 73
42 Latch Coupling for Concept 0-11 74
43 Mechanical Magnetic Ring Coupling for Concept 0-11 75
44 Concept O-12: Rendezvous of Axially Aligned Vehicles by Penetration 76
45 Concept O-13: Rendezvous by Surface Contact 77

concept o 13 space suit attachment x640 1959 61   Concept O 9 Manned Utility Tug   (American)
46 Concept O-14: Rendezvous in Matched Orbits by Man in Environmental Suit 78

 1959 61   Concept O 9 Manned Utility Tug   (American)
47 Concept O-15: Attachment by Mechanical Parallelogram Grappler 79

 1959 61   Concept O 9 Manned Utility Tug   (American)
48 Concept O-16: Attachment by Gas Actuated Parallelogram Grappler 80

Work during this phase of the project was faced with many unknowns. Initially, a cursory study was made in the area of orbital mechanics to determine what precision was required from thrust control during orbital rendezvous and if there might be a mass trade-off between shock mitigation and thrust control equipment. Again, airframe manufacturers and other agencies contributed to this effort.
The findings are summarized below:
a. The planes of the orbits of the target and intercept vehicles must be within minutes of arc.
b. The orbits must be matched in shape, size, and orientation within minutes of arc and, at time and point of rendezvous, the vehicles come together within close proximity.
c. The vehicles must be closely "in phase'" to affect rendezvous.
d. The vehicles, in the case of earth orbit rendezvous, should avoid lengthy exposure to the lower Van Allen radiation belt.
e. To make a rendezvous possible, corrective vernier rockets will have to operate within extremely precise limitations of thrust and cut-off times to bring relative velocity within acceptable limits.
f.* It was determined that, if each vehicle's velocity vector does not intercept the other's center of gravity on rendezvous, there may be a tumbling problem after contact.
To hold the mass of the shock mitigation equipment to an acceptable percentage of total mass, relative velocities were not to be considered over 35 ft/sec.
Parameters forming the framework for orbital attachment concepts include the same values applied ia-paragraph 2. 1; therefore:
a. 4 "earth" g's max. safe deceleration.
b. 1.5 safety factor applied to deceleration.
c. Vehicle gross weight approximately 20 tons (earth weight).
In this area, many concepts were submitted. However, since the problem of return to earth and landing are under detailed study in the Air Force as a portion of the Dyna-Soar development, no attempt was made to list a framework for concept formulation concerned with earth maneuvers.
* Any gravitational attraction between two bodies can be discounted with regard to bringing or holding them together. Eg: it takes only 2 (10)-5 radians/sec. rotation about a common C.G. to make two bodies of 100 tons each (whose C.G. 's are 100 feet apart)to balance the gravitational force holding them together.
As the project progressed, the concepts submitted were categorized as to earth allghtment or departure, (labeled E-1, E-2, etc.), orbital attachment (0-1. 0-2, etc.), and lunar alightment or departure (L-l, L-2, etc.). They were sub-categorized as logically as possible, as to their nature — mechanical, electro-mechanical, multi-strut, etc.
The appendix shows the concepts submitted in pictorial form. They are separated into the three major categories shown above. Class I illustrates earth alightment and departure, Class II orbital rendezvous, and Class III lunar alightment and departure.
The sixteen (16) [only 6  Orbitals] most promising concepts as selected by WADD, are listed below:
Class I – Earth Concepts
Class II – Orbital
3. O-1 Attachment by tail-hook snag.
4. O-2 Attachment by self-guiding probe through hoop.
5. O-7 Attachment by mechanical grappling hook — close range,
6. O-8 Orbital attachment by self-guiding probe,
7. O-11 Long-range attachment by probe and drogue — heat or light sensitive,
8. O-15 Attachment by mechanical parallelogram grappler. [This is the only illustrated concept shown here that made it through.]

Class III – Lunar Concepts
NOTE: The 34 concepts eliminated from further study by WADD were rejected on the basis of (a) insufficient anticipated reliability, (b) lack of
confidence In state-of-the-art advances in that area and, (c) in the case of bags, balloons, and parachutes, cognizance by other WADD Laboratories.

Contributing Agencies:

1. Brunswick Corporation, Muskegon, Michigan
2. Cleveland Pneumatic Industries, Inc., All Divisions
3. Convair Astronautics Division, General Dynamics Corporation,San Diego, California
4. E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Company, Wilmington, Delaware
5. General Electric Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
6. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Akron, Ohio
7. Human Sciences Research, Incorporated, Arlington, Virginia
8. International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation, South Bend, Indiana
9. Jet Propulsion Laboratories, Pasadena, California
10. Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Los Angeles, California
11. Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Sunnyvale, California
12. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, D. C.
13. North American Aviation Corporation Missile Division, Downey, California
[No 14 in document]
15. North American Aviation Corporation, Los Angeles, California
16. Republic Aviation Corporation, Farmingdale L.I., New York
17. Wright Air Development Division, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
18. Dr. Waldo Kliever, Instrumentation Physicist, Cleveland, Ohio
19. Dr. Fred S. Singer, Radiation Physicist, University of Maryland

Document sourced from here.

See other early Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.

1965 – Manned Space Pod with Manipulators (Concept) – Boeing (American)

boeing workpod 1965 x640 1965   Manned Space Pod with Manipulators (Concept)   Boeing (American)

Found in the old Boeing Historical archive some years back was a piece of artwork dated 20 Dec 1965 illustrating a “work pod” for orbital use.

boeing workpod 1965 x588 1965   Manned Space Pod with Manipulators (Concept)   Boeing (American)

boeing workpod 1965 x562 1965   Manned Space Pod with Manipulators (Concept)   Boeing (American)

boeing workpod 1965 x204 1965   Manned Space Pod with Manipulators (Concept)   Boeing (American)

Space Pod sourced from here.

Boeing manipulator 1 x640 1965   Manned Space Pod with Manipulators (Concept)   Boeing (American)

Some robots will be made up of computerized "brawn" working in combination with human "brains" to form an efficient whole. These one-man capsules would enable workers to survive in space while performing complex tasks using robotic remote manipulators. (The Boeing Co.)

Boeing manipulator 2 x640 1965   Manned Space Pod with Manipulators (Concept)   Boeing (American)

Boeing manipulator 3 x640 1965   Manned Space Pod with Manipulators (Concept)   Boeing (American)

Boeing manipulator 4 x640 1965   Manned Space Pod with Manipulators (Concept)   Boeing (American)

See other early Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.


1960 – “REMORA” Manned Space Manipulator – Bell Aerosystems (American)

bell remora manipulator x640 1960   REMORA Manned Space Manipulator    Bell Aerosystems (American)

Preliminary Design Concepts
•    Bell Aerosystems Remora Capsule

 1960   REMORA Manned Space Manipulator    Bell Aerosystems (American)
The REMORA configuration (Figure 5-15) is a small, buoy-shaped capsule 6-feet high, 3-feet in diameter, and weighing 540 pounds (leaded). This concept, proposed shout 1960, permits one astronaut to function in space while protected from the space environment. The capsule is tethered by a cable that provides power and retrieval, if necessary, and allows a maneuvering radius of 1,000 feet. A tinted dome provides access to the capsule and allows 360deg visibility. The capsule is oriented by reaction jets and has an operating time of 4 hours (a function of its life support system).

Bell Remora 1960 1 x640 1960   REMORA Manned Space Manipulator    Bell Aerosystems (American)

In the vacuum of outer space, Bell's Remora capsule could enable men to assemble, inspect, service and maintain satellites and space stations or shuttle men between space vehicles protected from the hazards of meteorites and radiation.
Taking its name from the fish which attaches itself to sharks, Remora is equipped with mechanical grappling arms by which it can attach itself to space stations and satellites. Inside the capsule the spaceman will have freedom to manipulate the arms to engage in assembly and maintenance activities.

 1960   REMORA Manned Space Manipulator    Bell Aerosystems (American)

Source: Space Research: Directions for the Future, Part 1.

Nonanthropomorphic maneuvering units.
As early as 1960, Bell Aircraft Corporation proposed the REMORA system, which combines direct and remote manipulation. The REMORA concept (see above) appears to offer several advantages. First, if necessary, it could be shielded to protect the extravehicular worker in zones of high radiation. Second, a variety of arms may be used, each designed to serve a special type of operation. For example, one pair of arms might be of the gauntlet type for use on jobs requiring delicate manipulation. One arm might hold and provide power for tools such as drills; other arms might simply hold the work, leaving the operator's gauntleted hands free for productive work. (Industrial engineers tell us that the "hold" operation is probably the greatest source of inefficiency in assembly and maintenance operations.) The possibilities are almost infinite. Third, REMORA is pressurized, requiring the operator to inflate his suit only in emergencies. This feature would greatly reduce fatigue and extend useful time of work.

See other early Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.

1966-7 – Space Taxi (Concept) – LTV (American)

MSFC space taxi x640 1966 7   Space Taxi (Concept)   LTV (American)

LTV Space Taxi concept.

LTV spacePod09 1966 7   Space Taxi (Concept)   LTV (American)

Mock-up using models.

LTV spacePod11 1966 7   Space Taxi (Concept)   LTV (American)

LTV spacePod12 1966 7   Space Taxi (Concept)   LTV (American)

Full-scale mock-up

Images sourced from here as original pdf currently unavailable.

•    Ling-Temco-Vought Maneuvering Work Platform and  Space Taxi
In 1966, Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV), in conjunction with Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), completed a thorough investigation of manned maneuvering manipulator spacecrafts for the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. The objectives of the LTV program, called the Independent Manned Manipulator (IMM) Study, were as follows
- Produce the conceptual designs and mockups of two selected IMM units which extend and enhance man's utilization in the support of AAP experiments and overall areas of EVA during future space exploration.
- Define Research, Development, and Engineering (RD&E) required to implement the IMM systems.
- Develop preliminary program definition plans which lead to flight-qualified hardware in the 1969-1971 time period.
The IMM vehicle designs were evaluated against NASA-specified criteria, and two concepts were selected for detailed analysis. the Maneuvering Work Platform (MWP) and the Space Taxi. The preliminary program definition plans were developed for obtaining the MWP flight-qualified hardware in the 1969-1971 time period and 1972-1974 for the Space Taxi.

space taxi schematic x640 1966 7   Space Taxi (Concept)   LTV (American)

•    Space Taxi Configuration
The Space Taxi configuration, selected and recommended for use in 1975 and beyond, features a multiple crew station built into a rotary vehicle which permits orientation of each operator station relative to the worksite. Electrical bilateral master-slave manipulators were selected by AEC/ANL for incorporation into the Space Taxi configuration.
Figure 5-18 presents the preliminary design of the selected Space Taxi concept developed during the detail analysis phase. The basic vehicle consists of a cylindrical, structural shell, the center portion of which is a pressure vessel forming the crew compartment. The upper and lower unpressurized compartments contain vehicle subsystems and equipments. After worksite attachment, the basic taxi is free to turn about its longitudinal axis in rotary fashion. The rotational motion is accomplished with the upper and lower turrets which support the three anchoring and docking arms. Attached to the sides of the Taxi are the two maintenance manipulator slave arms. An Apollo docking adapter and hatch and an extravehicular maintenance egress hatch are provided. A major element inside the crew compartment is the dual function manipulator master controller. It can swing 180deg to serve as the worksite anchoring arm controller and is a bilateral maintenance manipulator controller.
The Space Taxi is designed for one crewman with the capability to carry another man in a rescue situation. The craft would have a range of approximately 1 1/4 miles in any orbital direction. Like the MWP, its normal duration is 8 hours with a rescue contingency of 2 hours. The physical characteristics of the Space Taxi are:
- Overall length* – 150 inches
- Overall width. – 84 inches (maximum)
- Gross weight (nominal)** – dry, 3198 pounds; wet, 3474 pounds.
* Maximum stowage envelope
** Includes 732 pounds for crew systems and tools/ spares
Translation/Stabilization/Control Subsystem
The Space Taxi uses a hybrid stabilization and control system consisting of control moment gyros (CMG) and jet reaction components. Its characteristics are:
Propellant – Monopropellant hydrazine
Total Impulse – 51,000 lb/sec.
Total deltaV capability – 488 ft/sec.

Stabilization and Control:
Stabilization and Control Deadband -+2deg
Acceleration (maximum)
Angular – Roll – 16.3deg/sec2
Pitch – 15deg/sec2
Yaw – 40deg/sec2
X – .97 ft/sec2
y – .48 ft/sec2
Z – .48 ft/sec2
Number of thrusters – 24 (25 lbs. max. thrust each)
Rotational rates (maximum)
Roll – 13.1deg/sec.
Pitch – 12deg/sec.
Yaw – 31.80deg/sec.
Actuator Subsystem
The actuator subsystem consists of three electrically connected bilateral docking and anchoring arms used for stabilization at the worksite and two electrically connected bilateral manipulators used for tasks at the worksite.
Environmental Control Subsystem
The SpaceTaxi ECS/LS system provides a 5 psia, 70/30 percent, oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere for closed-cabin operation.
ECS/LS Duration – Nominal    8 hours
Contingency, 2 hours
Metabolic Rates – Average    1250 Btu/hr.
Peak    In excess. of 2150 Btu/hr.
Total heat load capability – 47,703 Btu Repreasurization cycles – 2
A Space Taxi weight summary is shown in Table 5-4 [below].

 1966 7   Space Taxi (Concept)   LTV (American)

Goertz ANL unmanned robot configuration   Copy x640 1966 7   Space Taxi (Concept)   LTV (American)

From 1960, Ray Goertz, who invented electrically remote manipulators for the nuclear industry, together with his team at Argonne Nuclear Laboratories (ANL), were engaged by NASA to specify teleoperator configurations for the Lunar space program. The result is illustrated above.

It should be noted that floating vehicles share one problem. This is their inability to stay immobile relative to the object on which they must act. Hence, they are equipped with docking arms, other than the manipulator(s) directly intended to execute the task, to attach them to the object of their task, whether this is another satellite or an underwater oil platform.

The LTV Space Taxi follows this generalized configuration.

Grappler layout and prototype.

LTV podArm02 1966 7   Space Taxi (Concept)   LTV (American)

LTV podArm03 1966 7   Space Taxi (Concept)   LTV (American)

LTV podArm04 1966 7   Space Taxi (Concept)   LTV (American)

LTV podArm05 1966 7   Space Taxi (Concept)   LTV (American)

LTV podArm06 1966 7   Space Taxi (Concept)   LTV (American)

Images sourced from here as original pdf currently unavailable.

See related LTV Space Horse here.

See other early Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.