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An autonomous system to assemble reconfigurable robotic structures in space


Credit: NASA

Large space structures, such as telescopes and spacecraft, should ideally be assembled directly in space, as they are difficult or impossible to launch from Earth as a single piece. In several cases, however, assembling these technologies manually in space is either highly expensive or unfeasible.

In recent years, roboticists have thus been trying to develop systems that could be used to automatically assemble structures in space. To simplify this assembly process, space structures could have a modular design, which essentially means that they are comprised of different building blocks or modules that can be shifted to create different shapes or forms.

Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Technische Universität München (TUM) have recently developed an autonomous planner that could be used to assemble reconfigurable structures directly in space. This system, introduced in a paper presented at the 2021 IEEE Aerospace Conference, could allow aerospace engineers and ...


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