Researchers explore options for automated assembly of large structures in orbit

(ORDO NEWS) — The construction of large structures such as space stations, space solar power plants and space telescopes is one of the main trends in the development of space research in the future.

However, due to their large size, such structures cannot be delivered into space by rockets or spacecraft.

These structures must be broken down into many modular units, which are delivered into space by a launch vehicle and then assembled.

The most important task of orbital maintenance is in-orbit assembly. This is one of the main directions of development, the purpose of which is the use of space robots for the autonomous assembly of space structures.

In a review article recently published in the journal Space: Science & Technology, experts and engineers from the China Academy of Space Technology summed up the development of space robot technology and related assembly technology with their use in orbit over the past decades.

The aerospace industry has been researching and practicing in-orbit service technology for many years. The task of assembling a spacecraft in orbit can be performed by space robots and astronauts in cooperation.

While hand assembly has proven to be an effective method of constructing space structures, there are many limitations to this method.

For this reason, it became necessary to use space robots to perform assembly tasks autonomously. In general, the technology for assembling spacecraft in orbit has gradually moved from manual control to autonomous operation.

The way of working has shifted from simple astronaut-assisted operations to offline assembly and maintenance.

However, this technology is still quite crude. Moreover, as the size of the object increases, the vibration of the flexible element increases and the required accuracy in the assembly process increases, so an in-depth study of the interaction of several robots is needed to perform such complex operations.

Orbital assembly depends on coordinating space multirobots and supporting intelligent interaction capabilities such as brain control, voice control, and eye control.

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