Jumping Space Robot Flies Like Spacecraft

Spacebok jumping in simulated lunar gravity. (Credit; ETH Zurich/ZHAW Zurich)

NOORDWIJK, The Netherlands (ESA ) — Astronauts on the Moon found themselves hopping around, rather than simply walking. Switzerland’s SpaceBok planetary exploration robot has followed their example, launching all four legs off the ground during tests at ESA’s technical heart.

SpaceBok is a quadruped robot designed and built by a Swiss student team from ETH Zurich and ZHAW Zurich. It is currently being tested using robotic facilities at ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in the Netherlands.

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Self Driving Rovers Tested in Mars-like Morocco

SherpaTT rover during Morocco field test. (Credit: DFKI GmbH, Florian Cordes)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Robots invaded the Sahara Desert for Europe’s largest rover field test, taking place in a Mars-like part of Morocco. For two weeks three rovers and more than 40 engineers tested automated navigation systems at up to five different sites.

This marked the end of the first phase of the strategic research cluster on space robotics technologies, a scheme funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme.

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Altius Space Machines DogTags Project Selected for NASA Funding

We’ve all heard of dogtags for dogs and for soldiers. But, for space robots?

That’s what Jonathan Goff’s Altius Space Machines will begin developing with NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I funding. The contract is worth $125,000 over six months.

Altius’s dogtags are lightweight, passive robotic interfaces that could be attached to habitat structures and objects. Examples of structures include human-tended deep space habitats and commercial manufacturing facilities in Easrth orbit that wouldn’t be permanently staffed.

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NASA Selects Honeybee Robotics for Six Small Business Awards

The green oval highlights the plumes Hubble observed on Europa. The area also corresponds to a warm region on Europa’s surface. The map is based on observations by the Galileo spacecraft (Credits: NASA/ESA/STScI/USGS)

Honeybee Robotics will begin developing new technologies that would allow a lander to drill into the icy surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa and collect samples for analysis with the help of a pair of NASA small business awards.

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ESA Astronaut Controls Ground Robot From ISS

ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen controls the Interact Rover at ESA’s ESTEC technical centre from the International Space Station. (Credit: ESA)
ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen controls the Interact Rover at ESA’s ESTEC technical centre from the International Space Station. (Credit: ESA)

NOORDWIJK, the Netherlands — Putting a round peg in a round hole is not hard for someone standing next to it. But yesterday ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen did this while orbiting 400 km up aboard the International Space Station, remotely operating a rover and its robotic arm on the ground.

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CSA Partners With SickKids Centre to Develop KidsArm

LONGUEIL, Quebec (CSA PR) — Not much rivals the dexterity of a good surgeon’s hands. But humans being humans, fatigue or even tremors after a long day at the hospital can make things challenging, especially when operating on small children.

That is why Toronto’s SickKids Centre for Image-Guided Innovation & Therapeutic Intervention (CIGITI) turned to the Canadian space technology behind Canadarm, Canadarm2 and Dextre and partnered with MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) to develop KidsArm.

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NASA KSC Seeks Partners for Technology Development Projects

Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center
Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is seeking proposals to participate in the technology advancing partnerships challenge, a new initiative managed by Kennedy’s chief technologist to enhance the development of new technologies to meet specific agency mission objectives.

Technological areas of emphasis for the challenge include: robotics, telerobotics and autonomous systems; human health, life support and habitation systems; human exploration destination systems; ground and launch systems processing; modeling, simulation, information technology and processing; thermal management systems; and communication and navigation.

Proposals will be accepted from U.S. educational institutions, private industry and non-profit organizations through May 9, 2014.

For more information on how to submit a proposal and to view the Cooperative Agreement Notice, visit:

http://go.nasa.gov/1rrFXpa

For more information on NASA’s research and technology programs, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/oct/

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NASA Tests In-Flight Fuel Transfer System

RROxiTT lead roboticist Alex Janas stands with the Oxidizer Nozzle Tool as he examines the work site. (Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)
RROxiTT lead roboticist Alex Janas stands with the Oxidizer Nozzle Tool as he examines the work site. (Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)

GREENBELT, Mary. (NASA PR) — NASA has successfully concluded a remotely controlled test of new technologies that would empower future space robots to transfer hazardous oxidizer – a type of propellant – into the tanks of satellites in space today.

Concurrently on the ground, NASA is incorporating results from this test and the Robotic Refueling Mission on the International Space Station to prepare for an upcoming ground-based test of a full-sized robotic servicer system that will perform tasks on a mock satellite client.

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From Orbit to Operating Rooms, Space Station Technology Translates to Tumor Treatment

The neuroArm merges machine technology derived from the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 with microsurgery. (Credit:  Project neuroArm, University of Calgary)
The neuroArm merges machine technology derived from the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 with microsurgery. (Credit:
Project neuroArm, University of Calgary)

CALGARY, Alberta (NASA PR) — People commonly use rocket science or brain surgery to refer to something incredibly complex and difficult. No wonder, then, that combining the two could result in something wonderful.

Powerful robotic arms developed by the Canadian Space Agency for the space shuttle and International Space Station – Canadarm and Canadarm2 – and a delicate surgical tool, dubbed neuroArm, are examples of the “wonderful things” that can happen when experts from different disciplines work together, says Garnette Sutherland, M.D.

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Canadarm: The Next Generation

Video Caption: The Next Generation Canadarm project showcases unique Canadian robotic hardware and software technology designed to support future space missions and repairing and refueling existing satellites. (Credit: Canadian Space Agency)

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NASA Selects Advanced Robotics Projects for Development

R2 with astronaut Scott Kelly aboard the International Space Station. Credit: Credit: ESA/NASA
R2 with astronaut Scott Kelly aboard the International Space Station. Credit: Credit: ESA/NASA

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected eight advanced robotics projects that will enable the agency’s future missions while supporting the Obama administration’s National Robotics Initiative.

The projects, ranging from technologies for improving robotic planetary rovers to humanoid robotic systems, will support the development and use of robots for space exploration, as well as by manufacturers and businesses in the United States.

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Space Review: Smaller Cheaper Whatever?

Jupiter Direct Launcher Variants

This week in The Space Review….

Human spaceflight for less: the case for smaller launch vehicles, revisited
As NASA, Congress, and industry debate what the new Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket should be, some argue that such a rocket isn’t necessary at all. Grant Bonin makes the case for exploration architectures that use larger numbers of smaller, less expensive rockets.

New strategies for exploration and settlement
For many space advocates, space settlement has long been the ultimate goal of spaceflight, but one that has seen little progress in the last few decades. Jeff Foust reports on two recent speeches that offer similar, if slightly differing, takes on new approaches that could make settlement a reality.

Bring home the sample
A Mars sample return mission remains a high priority for scientists, but one that is technically and financially difficult to carry out. Lou Friedman discusses the importance of sample return and the role that international cooperation can play to further it.

NASA’s new robot challenge
Draft rules for a new NASA prize competition involving sample return technology were quietly released last month. Ben Brockert reviews the rules and discusses some potential issues with the planned competition.

The last shuttle crew
Next month the final shuttle mission will lift off with a four-person crew. Anthony Young reflects on this final crew and the future of human spaceflight.

CSA Awards Robotics Contract to ESI

CSA PRESS RELEASE
Oct. 25, 2010

The Canadian Space Agency has awarded a contract valued at $3 million (CAD) to Engineering Services Inc. (ESI) of Toronto, Ontario, to develop prototypes of a robotic arm, control stations and exploration tools. In the coming months, these technologies will be integrated into terrestrial prototypes of lunar or martian rovers. The contract also includes an option for a second arm worth $500,000. The investment is part of the Government of Canada’s 2009 Economic Action Plan and aims to accelerate the research and development of new technologies for space exploration.

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NASA, DLR Look to Deepen Ties as Germany Carves Out Niche in Robotics

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver is in Berlin this week to attend the International Aerospace Exhibition, where she will hold talks with DLR Chairman Johann-Dietrich Wörner about deepening ties between the two space agencies:

NASA-DLR efforts are likely to be focused on Earth observation technologies – including DLR’s strong suit of space-based radar – as well as composite materials, robotics and laser communications, says Wörner, who stresses that technologies geared to battling climate change are a priority.

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