The International Space Station (ISS) is crewed continuously by astronauts conducting scientifc research in microgravity. However, their work is not limited to scientifc research alone; in fact, logistics, maintenance, and repair tasks on the ISS require more than 80% of available crew time, severely limiting opportunities for performing scientifc experiments and technological development. NASA is planning a new project known as Gateway (also referred to as the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway). This station will orbit the Moon and be uncrewed for 11 months per year. Astronauts will only be present in the outpost for a limited period of time and will not always be available for continuous repairs and maintenance, as is required for Gateway to operate. Therefore, robotic system(s) are necessary to regularly accomplish these tasks both in the absence and presence of astronauts. Throughout this project, Team ASTRO (Assessment of Space Technologies for Robotic Operations) explored the feasibility of integrating dexterous robotic systems in space habitat architectures to perform routine and contingency operational and maintenance tasks. Ultimately, this allows for astronauts, when present, to focus on exploration and scientifc discoveries. The team conducted this research through three approaches: Gateway component analog taskboard development and end e˙ector assessment, Cargo Transfer Bag (CTB) manipulation and logistics, and AprilTag situational awareness simulation development. Based on analyses and experimental results gained from this research, the team found that robotic systems are feasible alternatives for space habitat operation. Team ASTRO also determined that AprilTags can be used for optimization of the Gateway design to facilitate uncrewed operations and robotic servicing to improve crew productivity when present.


Gemstone Team ASTRO