1990-07-01

Telerobotics as an EVA Tool 901397

Extravehicular activity (EVA) will be required in future space missions for on-orbit assembly, maintenance, and servicing of space vehicles. Current EVA activities rely extensively on the use of EVA crew members for the assembly, maintenance and repair of space vehicles, satellites and structures, consequently exposing them to a variety of hazards, ranging from radiation and impacting debris to physiological dangers, such as bends and air embolisms. Relieving the crew members of dangerous or time-consuming EVA tasks by allowing routine or hazardous EVA operations to be conducted by a telerobotic device would be a significant advance in EVA technology. Properly incorporated telerobotic devices will shorten operational performance schedules, increase crewmember safety, and reduce staffing requirements, thereby increasing the performance of future space systems. This paper discusses the possible uses of telerobotic devices in EVA, drawing from Propellant Tank Farm neutral buoyancy testing performed under McDonnell Douglas independent research and development (IRAD). Recommendations are made for using telerobots such as the Flight Telerobotic Servicer, the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, the Remote Manipulator System, and the Japanese Experiment Module arms in the evolution of Space Station Freedom.

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