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The Future Role of Relay Satellites for Orbital Telerobotics

submitted by naramor2 1 year and 10 months ago
Orbital robotics focuses on a variety of applications, as e.g., inspection and repair activities, spacecraft construction or orbit corrections. On-Orbit Servicing (OOS) activities have to be closely monitored by operators on ground. A direct contact to the spacecraft in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is limiting the operational time of the robotic application. Therefore, geostationary satellites are desirable to relay the OOS signals and extend the servicing time window. A geostationary satellite in the communication chain not only introduces additional boundary conditions to the mission but also increases the time delay in the system. The latter is not very critical if the servicer satellite is operating autonomously. However, if the servicer is operating in a supervised control regime with a human in the loop, the increased time delay will have an impact on the operator’s task performance. This paper describes the challenges, which have to be met when utilizing a relay satellite for orbital telerobotics. It shows a series of ground experiments that were undertaken with a relay satellite in the communication chain to simulate the end-to-end system. This case study proves that complex robotic applications in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) are controllable by human operators on ground.

Topic: Geography

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