Enabling Dexterous Manipulation and Servicing by Smallsats

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CONFERENCE: AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites

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Akin, David; Limparis, Nicholas; McBryan, Katherine
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The University of Maryland Space Systems Laboratory is currently developing two flight-ready smallsats to demonstrate and validate the critical technologies for this new class of smallsat servicing system. The Dynamic FLight MAnipulation EXperiment (DYMAFLEX) , supported by the U. S. Air Force University Nanosat Program, is a smallsat incorporating a four degree-of-freedom high-performance manipulator and a fully maneuvering spacecraft bus, including a cold-gas reaction control system. Unlike past manipulator-equipped spacecraft such as ETS-VII or Orbital Express, the DYMAFLEX manipulator inertia (depending on payload) equals or exceeds that of the spacecraft bus, resulting in significant base reaction dynamics in response to arm motion. The goal of this mission, demonstrating the capability to adapt and control base motion during manipulator operations, is critical for the use of manipulators on very small spacecraft. Exo-SPHERES, supported by DARPA and NASA, is a program to develop a protoflight version of a 50-kg spacecraft intended to perform inspection and maintenance tasks on the International Space Station. Constrained to egress and ingress via the Japanese KIBO airlock, this system will implement an advanced modular smallsat architecture to support a large range of potential mission targets. The Smallsat Concept for Advanced Manipulation and Proximity operations (SCAMP) system has been proposed as a fully dexterous flight demonstration of smallsat servicing. Based on technologies from DYMAFLEX and Exo-SPHERES, SCAMP will be capable of equivalent dexterity to a human in a space suit, and will be used to demonstration both on-orbit proximity operations as well as capture and berthing and dexterous servicing operations.