Posts Tagged ‘1967’

1967 – STAR III Submersible – General Dynamics (American)

general-dynamics-underwater-manipulator_0003 - Copy-x640

1967 – STAR III Submersible by General Dynamics had a bow manipulator with interchangeable "hands" and two television cameras, and operated at depths of 2,000 feet.



STAR III Manipulator Control Panel.


Above and below: Advertisements highlighting the manipulator arms developed at General Dynamics.











Press Photo c1967.

Star II and Star III (foreground), the two research submarines launched by General Dynamics last month at its Electric Boat Division in Groton, Conn., completed their preliminary sea trials this week. Star III, which is 25 feet long and can carry a 1,500 pound payload, compared to Star II's 250 pounds, is in Atlantic waters preparing for advanced testing of its 2,000 foot depth capability. The boat was leased last week by the Military Sea Transportation Service to conduct oceanographic research surveys off Bermuda under technical direction of the U.S. Navy's Underwater Sound Laboratory. The 17.7 foot long Star II is being readied for exhibition in next week's Marine Technology Show in Washington, D.C., where it will form the central part of General Dynamics' multi-divisional presentation there.

See other early Underwater Robots here.

1966-7 – DOWB Submersible – General Motors (American)


DEEP OCEAN WORK BOAT (DOWB), a two man submersible built by General Motors in the United States by General Motors AC Electronics Division, was initially launched on October l2, 1967.

Windowless, it has top and bottom "fish eye" lenses, plus television cameras, for full 360 degree vision.

A TV viewing system is mounted on the manipulator to give operators freedom of action necessary for performing useful work. The TV viewing feature will allow precision control when performing delicate operations or lifting objects.


 Source: Boy's Life, April 1968.


Image source: Manned Submersibles, Frank Bushby, 1976.


DOWB manipulator: One electro-mechanical manipulator possessing six degrees of freedom can pick up a 50 lb load at its maximum reach of 49 in. Manufactured by General Motors.

See other early Underwater Robots here.

1967 – Toy Space Crawlers – Various

After recently posting the entry on Vladimir Ischein's Walking Wheel (1983), I recalled having seen something similar. It turned out to be the toy "Space Crawler" of Major Matt Mason from 1967.  This toy led to several other toymakers making similar devices.


1967 – Mattel's Major Matt Mason's Space Crawler




Some Space Crawler Images sourced from here.






When the going gets rough, Major MATT MASON rides across troublesome terrain  and dangerous crevices in his all-purpose vehicle, the SPACE CRAWLER!
Adfapted from official space program designs, the mighty transportation unit features eight rotating legs with curved power pads, so it always rights itself!
Major MATT MASON uses his SPACE CRAWLER as a winch to haul material and as a hoist to raise and lower supplies.
Turned on its side, the masterful machine rotates whenever its heavy-duty hook touches the tail boom.
Forward, neutral, raising and lowering accomplished by unique gear shift.


Publication number    US3475854 A
Publication date    Nov 4, 1969
Filing date    Feb 3, 1967
Priority date    Feb 3, 1967
Inventors    Macmeekin Robert A, Meggs Daniel Henry, Ryan John W
Original Assignee    Mattel Inc

See also US3529479 for related Space Crawler Gearbox patent.


soviet crawler-toy-lunnik-x640

Lunnik sourced from here.



Space Safari

Apollo Set Crawler Ferryman-x640



Mark Apollo Space Crawler by Marx.




Tri-Ang Moonmobile


See other early Walking Wheels and  Walking Machines here.

1967 – Space Work Platform – Bendix Company (American)

 A self-propelled space work platform for astronauts based aboard a "mother spaceship" has been designed by the Bendix Corporation's Missile Systems division in Mishawaka, Ind.
 A full-scale mock-up of the space vehicle, prepared under a $40.000 contract from the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University, which was responsible for the basic concepts, is now being studied by officials of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Washington.
 The EVA (Extra-Vehicular Activity) work platform is designed to help spacemen perform a variety of missions such as inspecting and maintaining orbiting objects, rescuing marooned astronauts, assembling structures in space and transferring objects from one orbit to another or one spacecraft to another.
 The Bendix EVA is a one-man open platform that allows an astronaut to maneuver through space, anchor the vehicle to other objects in space and perform various tasks with two electrically powered mechanical "hands." It can range a maximum of three nautical miles from the mother ship and carries sufficient oxygen to sustain the astronaut for eight hours.

Source: Hobbs Daily News, Wed Oct 4, 1967.

Modules available to the platform include the long range rendezvous module, the extended propulsion capability module, and the payload module. The long range rendezvous module is required for missions requiring excursions in excess of 10,000 feet. The module provides radar parameters of azimuth, elevation, range, and range-rate for computer-controlled rendezvous. Radar maximum range is 250 miles. The extended propulsion capability module provides an increase in available delta velocity from 300 to 1085 fps. The delta velocity for the full-up platform is 975 fps. The payload module mounted on the floor of the platform provides storage for tools, spare parts, rescue equipment, repair kits, test equipment, and special work aids.
Stabilization is provided by automatic attitude control.
All commands initiated by controller (attitude or translational) actuation result in full-on thruster firing. No proportional rate command is provided.
The platform is capable of serving as a portable worksite and can be fitted with manipulator arms to increase the reach and maintain and amplify forces provided by the astronaut. Worksite anchors are provided to connect the platform to structures. These consist of adhesive pads at the ends of three rods extending forward from the platform. The pads contain electrically heated epoxy adhesives and are left on the surface at undocking.

Bendix Corporation Module EVA Work Platform

This system proposed by Bendix and described in Section 4.4 is a configuration for an EVA work platform to be used by a suited astronaut in an orbital operation. The design consists of an assembly of five modules which are removable and interchangeable. As proposed, the astronaut conducts most of his activity from the platform; if he were equipped with a portable life support system, he could leave the platform if he desired. The platform could perform for a period of about 4 hours normally (extended to 8 hours with supplemental life support) (see Figure 5-17a).

The platform incorporates two bilateral (master-slave) manipulators. These manipulators are capable of magnifying or locking forces and extending the astronaut's reach. The manipulators have the following characteristics:
– Electrically driven
– Force amplification ratio: 2:1
– Maximum forces at slave: 25 pounds
– Working volume at master: 1 cubic foot
– Working volume at slave: approximately 525 cubic feet (5 foot radius)

See other early Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.

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

LTV Space Taxi concept.

Mock-up using models.

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 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].

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.

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.