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SRMS History, Evolution and Lessons LearnedEarly in the development of the Space Shuttle, it became clear that NASA needed a method of deploying and retrieving payloads from the payload bay. The Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS) was developed to fill this need. The 50 foot long robotic arm is an anthropomorphic design consisting of three electromechanical joints, six degrees of freedom, and two boom segments. Its composite boom construction provided a light weight solution needed for space operations. Additionally, a method of capturing payloads with the arm was required and a unique End Effector was developed using an electromechanical snare mechanism. The SRMS is operated using a Displays and Controls Panel and hand controllers located within the aft crew compartment of the shuttle. Although the SRMS was originally conceived to deploy and retrieve payloads, its generic capabilities allowed it to perform many other functions not originally conceived of. Over the years it has been used for deploying and retrieving constrained and free flying payloads, maneuvering and supporting EVA astronauts, satellite repair, International Space Station construction, and as a viewing aid for on-orbit International Space Station operations. After the Columbia accident, a robotically compatible Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS) was developed and used in conjunction with the SRMS to scan the Thermal Protection System (TPS) of the shuttle. These scans ensure there is not a breach of the TPS prior to shuttle re-entry. Ground operations and pre mission simulation, analysis and planning played a major role in the success of the SRMS program. A Systems Engineering Simulator (SES) was developed to provide a utility complimentary to open loop engineering simulations. This system provided a closed-loop real-time pilot-driven simulation giving visual feedback, display and control panel interaction, and integration with other vehicle systems, such as GN&C. It has been useful for many more applications than traditional training. Evolution of the simulations, guided by the Math Model Working Group, showed the utility of input from multiple modeling groups with a structured forum for discussion.There were many unique development challenges in the areas of hardware, software, certification, modeling and simulation. Over the years, upgrades and enhancements were implemented to increase the capability, performance and safety of the SRMS. The history and evolution of the SRMS program provided many lessons learned that can be used for future space robotic systems.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Johnson Space Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Jorgensen, Glenn
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Bains, Elizabeth
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
September 26, 2011
Subject Category
Cybernetics, Artificial Intelligence And Robotics
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: AIAA Space 2011 Conference and Exposition
Location: Long Beach, CA
Country: United States
Start Date: September 27, 2011
End Date: September 29, 2011
Sponsors: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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