Robot is a system with a mechanical body, using computer as its brain. Integrating the sensors and actuators built into the mechanical body, the motions are realised with the computer software to execute the desired task. Robots are more flexible in terms of ability to perform new tasks or to carry out complex sequence of motion than other categories of automated manufacturing equipment. Today there is lot of interest in this field and a separate branch of technology 'robotics' has emerged. It is concerned with all problems of robot design, development and applications. The technology to substitute or subsidise the manned activities in space is called space robotics. Various applications of space robots are the inspection of a defective satellite, its repair, or the construction of a space station and supply goods to this station and its retrieval etc. With the over lap of knowledge of kinematics, dynamics and control and progress in fundamental technologies it is about to become possible to design and develop the advanced robotics systems. And this will throw open the doors to explore and experience the universe and bring countless changes for the better in the ways we live.
Areas Of Application
The space robot applications can be classified into the following four categories
1 In-orbit positioning and assembly: For deployment of satellite and for assembly of modules to satellite/space station.
2 Operation: For conducting experiments in space lab.
3 Maintenance: For removal and replacement of faulty modules/packages.
4 Resupply: For supply of equipment, materials for experimentation in space lab and for the resupply of fuel.
The following examples give specific applications under the above categories
Conduct experimentation in space labs that may include
" Metallurgical experiments which may be hazardous.
" Astronomical observations.
" Biological experiments.
Assist crew in space station assembly
" Assist in deployment and assembly out side the station.
" Assist crew inside the space station: Routine crew functions inside the space station and maintaining life support system.
Space servicing functions
" Replacement of faulty modules.
" Assist jammed mechanism say a solar panel, antenna etc.
Space craft enhancements
" Replace payloads by an upgraded module.
" Attach extra modules in space.
" Grab a satellite and effect orbital transfer.
" Efficient transfer of satellites from low earth orbit to geostationary orbit.