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Space: Science & Technology / 2022 / Article

Editorial | Open Access

Volume 2022 |Article ID 9764036 |

Zhihong Jiang, Jinguo Liu, Yiwei Liu, Hui Li, "Advances in Space Robots", Space: Science & Technology, vol. 2022, Article ID 9764036, 2 pages, 2022.

Advances in Space Robots

Received14 Sep 2022
Accepted14 Sep 2022
Published11 Oct 2022

1. Main Text

Space robots are a type of specialized robots that assist and replace humans in conducting scientific experiments, external vehicular activities, space exploration, and other activities in space. Space robots are gradually changing traditional modes of space transportation, on-orbit construction, on-orbit maintenance, and planetary exploration. It is one of the important enabling means for future unmanned and manned space missions. The development of space robots presents the design, fabrication, and control challenges, as such devices will operate in space where the environment differs greatly from Earth. The field of space robots calls for collaborative efforts between physicists, chemists, biologists, computer scientists, engineers, and other specialists to work towards this common objective.

This special issue intends to gather advanced research focusing on all domains linked to space robots, including the challenges we have overcome to address the particularity of the space environment and the achievements of space robots. After rounds of review and revision, articles in the following topics have been selected to compile this special issue: (1)Progress and development trends of space intelligent robot technology(2)Autonomous assembly methods of robot on the space station(3)The methods for target tracking in the space laboratory(4)The recursive composite adaptive algorithms for the complicated multi-degree manipulators(5)System development and compliance control for the space robot(6)The visual servo methods of a manipulator based on velocity feedforward(7)The high-efficient finite difference methods for flexible manipulator with boundary feedback control

The present volume reports some of the results obtained in the mentioned areas. Several experimental works have been dedicated to the system design and algorithm research of space robots. Y. Wang and Y. Mo propose a parameter automatic selection algorithm to determine the shape parameter of the GMCKF algorithm, which helps it achieve better performance for complex non-Gaussian noise. The performance of the proposed algorithm has been evaluated by simulations and ground experiments. The algorithm has been successfully applied in the maintenance experiments in the TianGong-2 space laboratory in China. H. Yang and Z. Sun propose a variable D-H parameter inverse kinematics solution method and an autonomous operation method based on visual guidance and variable parameter admittance control, which aim at relieving the difficulty to balance both complexity and dexterity in the existing space robot configuration. Finally, the safety and robustness of the robot in the autonomous assembly of the load plate with multipins and holes are successfully verified by experiments. J. Li and Y. Wang propose a new recursive composite adaptive controller for robot manipulators. The recursive composite adaptive algorithm has an amount of computation , which is less than any existing similar algorithms and can satisfy the computation need of the complicated multi-degree manipulators.

The research team led by W. Xu has designed a lightweight space manipulator with a weight of 9.23 kg and a load of 2 kg in consideration of lightweight and load capacity. To achieve constant force tracking under the condition of unknown environmental parameters, an integral adaptive admittance control method is proposed. The control law is expressed as a third-order linear system equation, the operating environment is equivalent to a spring model, and the control error transfer function is derived and the control performance under the step response is further analyzed. A method of predicting the motion state of a moving target in the base coordinate system and the position and attitude of the end by hand-eye vision is proposed by R. Wang and C. Liang. The predicted value is used as the velocity feedforward, and the position-based visual servo method is used to plan the velocity of the end of the manipulator. It overcomes the influence of end coordinate system motion on target prediction in a discrete system and introduces an integral control method to compensate for the prediction velocity, eliminating the end tracking error caused by target velocity prediction error. F. Liu and D. Jin propose a high-efficient finite difference method for solving the PDE model of the single-link flexible manipulator system with boundary feedback control. Numerical simulations verify the correctness and extremely high-computational efficiency of the present method for simulating the single-link flexible manipulators under both low- and high-frequency excitations and the PDS (proportional derivative and strain) boundary feedback control.

Z. Jiang and X. Cao investigate the robotic manipulators and humanoid robot systems for space station applications, review theories and methods for robots to achieve large-range stable motion and intelligent dexterous manipulation, and further examine the intelligent robot systems for the on-orbit assembly of large-scale spatial structures, and also summarize the technologies of modular assembly and on-orbit manufacture. The paper reviews space robots’ technological progress and development trends, which provides a good reference for further technical research in this field.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this article.


We warmly thank all authors of the numerous manuscripts submitted to this Special Issue. We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the authors and coauthors for sharing their work, experiences, and expectations about space robot research.

Copyright © 2022 Zhihong Jiang et al. Exclusive Licensee Beijing Institute of Technology Press. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0).

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