Many satellites are rapidly reaching the end of their lifespans, and risk de-orbiting if no action is taken. One common problem satellites face towards the end of their lifespans is that they are running out of fuel, and therefore new propulsion units must be delivered in-orbit. Attempting to deliver propulsion units using human astronauts is both dangerous and cost-prohibitive. To meet this challenge, corporate entities such as Northrop Grumman have led efforts to develop cost-effective, robotic in-orbit satellite servicing vehicles capable of delivering life extension payloads to satellites in need of maintenance.
In this thesis we present an integrated tracking, estimation, and control framework for space robots, along with an environment to simulate in-orbit satellite servicing missions. We show that existing methods for operational space control of floating base manipulators can be extended to partially observable environments by incorporating contact force information into the control problem. Further, we demonstrate that our integrated tracking and operational space control framework can be used to accomplish satellite servicing missions by testing our framework in simulation at numerous initial configurations and conditions.
Howie Choset (Advisor)
Matthew Travers (Co-advisor)
Zoom Participation. See announcement.
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