Robotic Refueling Mission Phase 2 (RRM-Phase 2) - 12.03.13
Science Objectives for Everyone
The Robotic Refueling Mission Phase 2 (RRM-Phase 2) tests the tools and techniques required to service and refuel satellites in space, especially those not designed to be serviced. It may be cheaper and less risky to repair them with robots than to launch a replacement. The experiment uses the International Space Station’s robotic handyman, the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM), also known as Dextre.
Science Results for Everyone
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Sponsoring Organization
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)Research Benefits
Information PendingISS Expedition Duration:
March 2013 - September 2014Expeditions Assigned
35/36,37/38,39/40,41/42,43/44Previous ISS Missions
These demonstrations will increase the versatility and knowledge base of robotic servicing in microgravity. Robotic servicing provides the capability to extend a satellite's lifespan, offering satellite owners and operator’s years of additional service and revenue, more value from the initial satellite investment, and significant savings in delayed replacement costs. Numerous satellites are in orbit today that could benefit from such a service.
The ability to mechanically disassemble, manipulate and re-assemble satellite interfaces by a space based robot with specialized tools using earth based robotic controllers.
- RRM-Phase 2 further demonstrates robotic technologies and techniques required to mechanically replenish a satellite’s fluid in space and manipulate electrical connectors during the servicing of "legacy" satellites, including satellites not designed to be serviced. Robotic servicing extends the lifetime of satellites, allowing owners and operators to gain additional years of use from assets already operating in space. Technology spinoffs have the potential to benefit humankind in yet-undiscovered ways.
The Robotic Refueling Mission Phase 2 (RRM-Phase 2) consists of installing 2 new modular task boards onto the existing RRM experiment that was installed on the International Space Station (ISS) ELC4 in August 2011. The modular task boards are designed to mimic satellite interfaces that can be used in robotic servicing. The task boards also feature various mechanical adapters to actuate these satellite interfaces that are manipulated by the existing RRM Multi-Function Tool (MFT) stowed within the RRM experiment. The robot that will perform the demonstrations is the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM, also known as "Dextre") that operates in an environment equivalent to a robotic servicing mission. The demonstrations on the task boards will reduce risks, refine techniques, and increase the reliability and technical proficiency of future robotic servicing missions.
With the RRM module securely mounted to the space station’s ELC-4 platform, mission controllers direct the Dextre robot, the space station’s Canadian, twin-armed “handyman,” to retrieve RRM tools from the module and perform a full set of servicing and refueling tasks. Dextre uses the RRM tools to perform satellite servicing tasks. The five RRM tasks consist of:
1. Using existing robotic tools and new unique adapters, mechanically capture, remove, translate and Install a coolant line hose and bayonet into an open service line port
2. Using robotic tools, capture, remove, translate and install a vent plug into an open vent port, verify environment seal
3. Using robotic tools, capture, remove, translate and
a. Stow an electrical loop back plug
b. Install an electrical plug and check for electrical continuity
4. Using Robotic tools, capture, remove, translate and install an inspection camera onto an open tube
a. Deploy and articulate a stowed flexible inspection camera into the tube
5. Using robotic tools, capture, remove, translate and install and latch a blind mate SMA plug into a recessed SMA receptacle box and check for electrical continuity.
Using robotic cameras visually capture images of representative spacecraft components under various lighting conditions and angular positions.
Robotic refueling and servicing could extend a satellite's lifespan, potentially offering satellite owners and operators years of additional service and revenue, more value from the initial satellite investment, and significant savings in delayed replacement costs. Numerous satellites are in orbit today in that could benefit from such a service. In-orbit robotic refueling and servicing have also been identified by several nations and space agencies as a critical capability that supports overarching autonomy and expansion in space. If applied in conjunction with a fuel depot, robotic refueling would eliminate the need for space explorers and satellites to carry up heavy amounts of fuel at launch, thus freeing up weight for mission-critical equipment and capabilities. Robotic refueling and servicing have the potential to allow human and robotic explorers to reach distant destinations more efficiently and effectively. As an ISS investigation, RRM-Phase 2 reduces the risk associated with performing robotic servicing tasks in-orbit and lays the foundation for a future robotic servicing mission to a free-flying satellite. It also advances space robotic capabilities. It is a continuation of the first NASA technology demonstration to test and prove technology needed to perform robotic refueling and servicing on spacecraft not originally built for them, and the use of Dextre for advanced operations beyond robotic maintenance of the space station for technology research and development.Earth Applications
Robotic refueling and servicing extends the lifetime of satellites, allowing owners and operators to gain additional years of use from assets already operating in space. Technology spinoffs have the potential to benefit humankind in yet undiscovered ways.
During the mission, Dextre uses unique RRM tools to demonstrate a suite of satellite-servicing tasks, including unscrewing caps and accessing valves, removing and installing coolant lines, and visual inspection of spacecraft components under a variety of lighting conditions. The investigation also continues to demonstrate general space robotic operations. RRM-Phase 2 Mission Operations are being managed from Goddard Space Flight Center. Robotic operations are controlled by Johnson Space Center, with payload monitoring performed from Marshall Space Flight Center.Operational Protocols
Image Caption 4: Existing RRM Multi-Function Tool (MFT)
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