Research Activity

[ Japanese ] // [ English ]

Dynamics and Control of Space Free-Flying Robot

A space free-flying robot is expected to play an important role as a service robot for maintenance and supply to space infrastructures, such as space stations or geostational communication/broadcasting satellites. The National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) is launching the Experimental Test Satellite VII (ETS-VII), a world-first free-flying robot, to test and demonstrate the robotics capability on orbit. In this research, we study dynamic analysis and control technologies required for the space free-flying robot, with keeping a close connection with NASDA.
Latest results are displayed here.

Robotics on the International Space Station

For the Japanese module of the international space station (JEM), NASDA is developing a robot arm which is featured by a macro-micro manipulator system. The macro part of the arm has 10m in length, then shows structural flexibility. For dexterous operations we need sophisticated control schemes. In this research, we study both of position and force control methods at the endtip of the micro manipulator, with simultaneous control of the vibrations of the macro manipulator.
The project is under the support from National Space Development Agency, Japan /Japan Space Forum.
A new page, including the project report and academic papers, is comiung soon!

Design and Control of Lunar/Planetary Rovers

As is proven by the great success of Mars Pathfinder mission by JPL/NASA, an exploration rover will play a significant role for Lunar or planetary missions. In this research, we develop a test-bed of a rover with a Rocker-Bogie type suspension, which has high locomotion capability on rough terrain, and evaluate the performance on natural terrain. Our goal is to develop a useful model of wheel/soil traction from the experimental data on slippage and sinkage of the wheel on various types of natural terrain, and to develop a practical control law for rover navigation.
Latest results are described here.(As of Feb. 2002)
A proposal of a possible polar ice-finding mission is described here
(in Japasese but with figures and movies, as of Oct. 2000.)

Latest research is described here (As of September, 2005)

Dynamics and Control of the Asteroid Sample-Return Probe

In addition to the major planets, small planets like asteroids and comets increasingly attract scien-tific attention these years. The Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan, has a plan to launch a spacecraft named MUSES-C, which will make rendez-vous with an asteroid after two-year voyage, then collect and bring the samples back to Earth. Applying our technical background on the dynamics and control of free-flying robots, we are taking an improtant role in the design and development of the sampling mechanism and the control dynamics of the spacecraft.
(a simulation model of MUSES-C developed in our lab: relatively old)
Latest simulation of motion dynamics during the touch-down sampling. (as of Feb. 2003)
(c) Space Robotics lab., Tohoku University

Introduction Update

  • Laboratotry activities presented at University Space System Symposium 2002.

    More Exciting Projects

  • A Rocket Launch for International Student Satellites (ARLISS) and the demonstrarion of a micro rover

  • Activity on Hands-On Education at Summer Session Program (SSP) 2002, International Space University, with a Robot Contest of Planetary Exploration


    Space Robotics Lab
    Tohoku University