Evolved design, integration, and test of a modular, multi-link, spacecraft-based robotic manipulator
Drew, Jerry V., II
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This thesis reports on the evolved design, test, and integration of a robotic manipulator consisting of multiple modular links, which enable the reconfiguration of the manipulator system for differing mission requirements without constructing unique hardware for each experimental campaign. The evolved design replaced custom components with commercial components to improve performance, standardize hardware, and reduce assembly time. Additional links were constructed and assembled into a four-link manipulator capable of moving its end-effector without imparting motion to the base spacecraft. Each joint can be controlled independently and provides unique telemetry data via Wi-Fi. A mathematical model of the system was implemented, and the kinematic and dynamic behaviors calibrated, resulting in confirmation of the validity of the modular link manipulator concept. A software code based on this model, the Spacecraft Robotics Toolkit (SPART), was published as an open-source kinematics/dynamics and control framework for use by the spacecraft robotics community. Future research will investigate further upgrades, manipulator control and use in operational scenarios.
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