An experimental testbed for a free-floating manipulator
Maddox, Douglas Lamar.
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The attitude control of a multibody system in a gravity free environment has been an ongoing field of study for decades. Although most methods involve the use of thrusters, some algorithms exist that utilize internal motion of the system for reorientation. These algorithms reduce the expenditure of the limited amount of on board fuel so as to extend the useful life span of the system. An experimental facility for testing existing algorithms, and algorithms to be developed in the future for motion planning of multibody space systems, is developed as part of this research. The multibody system developed is comprised of a two link space vehicle/manipulator system. The system is mounted on air bearings and floats freely on a flat glass table. The robotic system is controlled in real time using a VME based controller with support from a SPARC station.
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