Robonaut 2 Mission to ISS

During FY11 the Robonaut 2 system will be launched on STS-133 and delivered to the ISS in what will become the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM). Robonaut 2 (R2) is the latest in a series of dexterous robots built by NASA as technology demonstration, nowevolving from Earth to in-space experiments. The main objectives are to explore dexterous manipulation in zero gravity, test human-robot safety systems, test remote supervision techniques for operation across time delays, and experiment with ISS equipment to begin offloading crew of housekeeping and other chores. The R2 was built in a partnership with General Motors, with a shared vision of a capable but safe robot working near people.

The R2 has the state of the art in tactile sensing and perception, as well as depth map sensors, stereo vision, and force sensing. The R2 will be deployed initially on a fixed pedestal with zero mobility, but future upgrades are planned to allow it to climb and reposition itself at different worksites. Robonaut 2’s dexterous manipulators are the state of the art, with three levels of force sensing for safety, high strength to weight ratios, compliant and back drivable drive trains, soft and smooth coverings, fine force and position control, dual arm coordination, and kinematic redundancy.

Human interfaces for the R2 include direct force interaction where humans can manually position the limbs, trajectory design software tools, and script engines. R2 is designed to be directly tele-operated, remotely supervised, or run in an automated manner. The modular design can be upgraded over time to extend the Robonaut capabilities with new limbs, backpacks, sensors and software.

The Robotic Refueling Dexterous Demonstration (R2D2) is a multifaceted payload designed for representative tasks required to robotically refuel a spacecraft. Once mounted to the International Space Station, the demonstration will utilize the R2D2 payload complement, the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) robotic arms, and 4 customized, interchangeable tools to simulate the tasks needed to refuel a spacecraft using its standard ground fill‐and‐drain valve.

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