Experts of the German Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics (DLR-RM), RSC Energia and TsNII of Robotics and Engineering Cybernetics have successfully performed the Kontur scientific experiment aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
The experiment is aimed at researching and developing new methods for the secured operation of remote robotic devices RRD) through public networks in connection with changeable time delays related to such networks.
Roscosmos, the Russian federal space agency, had reported that the Kontur scientific experiment was performed using ROCKVISS hardware. German SpaceAgency DLR developed this hardware and supplied it to the ISS in 2003.
During EVA, cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Fedor Yurchikhin removed the robotic device from the ISS’ external surface on November 15, 2010 for returning it to the ground. The RRD aboard the ISS, which was remotely controlled from the ground surface, carried out several research operations. These tasks were associated with the assessment of the force moment control (the resistive force encountered by the robotic arm, which is felt by the operator)
Once the robotic device reaches the ground, it will be investigated to learn the effects of prolonged exposure of hardware to space factors. The experiment will be further extended to examine the abilities to operate robots on the ground from the orbit of the space. To perform this research, a laptop and joystick will be supplied to the ISS by 2011, enabling the cosmonaut aboard the station to control the ground-based robot. As a part of this research, a robot archetype for future “serpentine” structure space manipulators comprising several joints will be utilized.