Proximity Operations in Microgravity

About This Project

Space debris, such as dysfunctional satellites or spent rocket stages, is becoming increasingly problematic. A potential solution is to refurbish the outdated satellites with new hardware. However, this is extremely difficult as it requires close proximity operations using fine motor control and an ability to apply substantial forces and moments in microgravity. These types of operations are generally only suited for a human. A solution is to develop a cooperative robotic system capable of maneuvering in a microgravity environment and performing detailed operations. Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory supported research into the design, development, and testing of a system of robots for the end goal of servicing decommissioned satellites.