2008

Testing Astronaut-Controlled Surface Robots from the International Space Station

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NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are currently developing robots that can be remotely operated on planetary surfaces by astronauts in orbiting spacecraft. The primary objective of this work is to test and demonstrate crew-controlled communications, operations, and telerobotic technologies that are needed for future deep space human exploration missions.

Dr. Terry Fong, Director of the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA’s Ames Research Center, discusses the agency’s “Human Exploration Telerobotics” (HET) project, and Philippe Schoonejans, Head of Robotics at the European Space Agency, describes ESA’s “Multi-Purpose End-To-End Robotic Operations Network” (METERON) project. These complementary initiatives aim to validate technologies through a range of ground and flight experiments with humans and robots in the loop.