Posts Tagged ‘manned space manipulator’

1955 – Space Tug (Illustration) – Nikolay Kolchitsky (Soviet)

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Illustrations from the book “Travel To Distant Worlds” written by Karl Gilzen. The illustrations are dated 1955 and are by Nikolay Kolchitsky (Николай Кольчицкий) .  The Space Tugs are manned and have what appears to be simple mechanical arms.

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The covers to both the Soviet version and the English version of the book.

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Another similar illustration by the same artist, again of a space station being assembled using space tugs with mechanical arms. Magazine is the Soviet youth-oriented magazines “Tekhnika Molodezhi” dated 1955.


See other early Space Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.


1985 – Manned Autonomous Work Station (MAWS) – Brand Griffin (American)

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1985 – Manned Autonomous Work Station (MAWS) by Brand Griffin.

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For more detail see Griffin’s pdf here.

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Image and text sourced from drell-7.

“With restrictions put on by current EVA technology, there’s no such thing as being able to put on your spacesuit, go out the airlock and deal with an emergency these days. A minimum of about 20 hours of slow decompression and prebreathing pure oxygen is required before anyone goes out into space. Thats because the cabin environment of the Space Station, and the Shuttle is oxygen/nitrogen at sea level pressure, while the suits operate with pure oxygen at 5 p.s.i. They do that because, with present, vintage 1980 space suits, the arms and legs become impossible to bend if the pressure is any greater. The other problem is radiation shielding. For long stays outside, or any meaningful work beyond the Earth’s ionosphere, the present suits just have inadequate radiation protection.

The potential solution is Manned Autonomous Work Station (MAWS.) It will have the same internal pressure as the station, or whatever long duration habitat we have in the future, because it doesn’t have flexible joints. Instead it uses a couple of miniature versions of the station’s robot arm. Its possible to put much better radiation shielding around MAWS, too. Probably the first exploration of asteroids or moons of Mars will be done in something like this design.
So this is the baseline look of the MAWS, as loosely worked out by NASA.”

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Artist: Paul Hudson

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Possibly an early depiction of the MAWS. This one by Robert McCall.


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MAWS updated to FlexCraft in 2010.


See other early Space Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.


1978 – Manned Remote Work Station (MRWS) – Grumman (American)

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1978 – Manned Remote Work Station (MRWS) by Grumman.

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MRWS multi-role concepts in support of large space systems.

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More advanced repair platforms for the RMS have been studied by NASA and Grumman Aerospace Corp. The remote work station (RWS) would resemble the manipulator foot restraint and have controls for the Extra-vehicular activity (EVA) astronaut and a small berthing pin so that the end of the arm could be held firm against the worksite rather than wobbling as the astronaut used tools and moved equipment. The next major step would be the manned remote work station (MRWS), a pressurized module with short manipulator arms. An astronaut could work inside the module wearing shirt sleeves rather than a space suit and perform repair work through teleoperator arms extending to the front of the module. Initially the module would be used attached to the RMS but in time a free flying version would evolve to give greater flexibility in operations around large spacecraft.

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Free Flyer
The MRWS cabin is mated to a platform that contains the needed propulsion and electrical subsystems, maintaining a clean transition for the cabin from the roles of cherry picker and crane turret to that of a free flyer.
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Painting (1978) by one of the last full-time NASA artists, Ray Bruneau.

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Possibly an early depiction of the MRWS.


See other early Space Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.


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1962 – Manned Auxillary Fitter Craft with Mandible (Concept) – Sperry Gyroscope Company (American)

1962 – Manned Auxillary Fitter Craft with Mandible. Not the name the vehicle was called in the original Sperry Gyroscope Company advertisement when it appeared in the February, 1962 issue of  Scientific American Magazine.

The shape is somewhat reminiscient of Wernher von Braun's "Bottle Suit", with manourvering engines top and bottom, but only one pair of manipulator arms.

The image is more famous in being copied by the Soviet Union and re-issed by the TASS agency in 1969 as if it were their own space station development. The first space station ever was Salyut 1, which was launched by the Soviet Union on April 19, 1971. Like all the early space stations, it was "monolithic", intended to be constructed and launched in one piece, and then manned by a crew later. The wheel shape had been dropped by all by this time.

10/11/69-MOSCOW: The Soviet Union hurled a "flying machine shop" carrying two cosmonauts into earth orbit 10/11. Reliable sources said it would be followed soon by one or two more manned craft and that crews would eperiment in the construction of an orbital space station. This Soviet sketch shows a future Soviet space station which will be used to assemble and launch interplanetary ships. The sketch shows portion of space station (BTM), a spaceship under construction (UR) and a one-man construction craft (UL). TASS PHOTO


Source: Lodi News-Sentinel, October 25, 1969.

Source: Life Magazine, Nov 14, 1969.

Source: February, 1962 issue of  Scientific American Magazine.

Source: New York Times, 13 Oct 1969.


See other early Space Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.


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

Manned Orbital Transfer Vehicle (MOTV) proposal by Grumman.

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.

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.


A later depiction of the MOTV from 1989.


See other early Space Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.


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