WVRTC & NASA JPL Microspine Testing Operations

20131124_124532 20131124_133844 20131124_130933 Large Rock Grab Large Rock Pickup Off Vertical Grab Off Vertical Pickup

Permanent link to this article: http://wvrtc.com/multimedia/wvrtc-nasa-jpl-microspine-testing-operations/

WVRTC Tests NASA JPL’s Microspine Tool for Robotic Asteroid Capture

A unique prototype tool designed for rock manipulation is NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Microspine gripping tool.  The tool uses a unique strategy which combines probability and friction to conform to a flat or curved rock surface and clinch to its target.

Intrigued by this concept and seeing the potential of the tool’s capability when connected to the end of an advanced 7 degree-of-freedom robot manipulator, WVRTC collaborated with NASA JPL to test out the prototype on one of our Motoman SIA50s in the WVRTC lab. Check out the video!


Permanent link to this article: http://wvrtc.com/news/wvrtc-tests-nasa-jpls-microspine-tool-for-robotic-asteroid-capture/

Robotic Refueling Mission

718386main_Image2_226718383main_Image1_226 Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://wvrtc.com/news/robotic-refueling-mission/

Autonomous Capture Testing Continues at WVRTC

Autonomous capture testing and evaluation of the WVRTC machine vision algorithms continue as the deadline to deliver a simulated capture in a ground-based setting nears.  The WVRTC engineers have been working tirelessly to prepare an autonomous capture system to replicate on ground the grapple and docking phase of a satellite capture procedure in geostationary orbit.  The replicated test uses two robotic manipulators, one with a vision system and grapple tool, and the second with a mockup section of a satellite being captured.  The robot arm with the vision system detects the location of the target and controls its own position (without human interaction) to approach and grab the target.  The approach initiates from meters away to the point where the grapple tool contacts the detected feature on the mockup satellite.

In order to validate the algorithms and make them robust to various environment conditions, the WVRTC staff tests under changing lighting conditions, various starting positions and orientations, and using different robot approach speeds.

Permanent link to this article: http://wvrtc.com/news/autonomous-capture-testing-continues-at-wvrtc/

WVRTC Quarterly Review & Astronaut Scott Altman Visit

Permanent link to this article: http://wvrtc.com/multimedia/astronaut-scott-altman-visit-to-wvrtc/

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin Visits WVRTC

Image: Dr. Thomas Evans (right), NASA research program manager and West Virginia University research assistant professor, shows U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (left) and Karen Mills, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the work being done in the space robotics services lab during a tour of the Robert H. Mollohan Research Center in Fairmont on Wednesday.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin and Karen Mills, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, toured the research facility at the West Virginia Robotic Technology Center.  Sen. Manchin and Ms. Mills were shown a demonstration of  robotic autonomous approach and tracking of a full-scale satellite mockup.

An article featured in the Fairmont Times West Virginian covering the visit can be found here.

Permanent link to this article: http://wvrtc.com/news/sen-joe-manchin-visits-wvrtc-research-center/

Dr. Marani Presents at ICRA in Minneapolis

Dr. Giacomo Marani Presenting at ICRA

Members of the WVRTC research team; Dr. Thomas Evans and Dr. Giacomo Marani attended the International  Conference of Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Minneapolis, MN on May 14, 2012.

Dr. Marani presented:  “Advances in Autonomous Underwater Intervention,

“This presentation will survey robotic systems developed for autonomous underwater intervention. Underwater systems for intervention have many similarities with space servicing concepts. The latest underwater mission of the ONR funded SAUVIM i-AUV is here presented as an example of underwater autonomous manipulation task.”

ICRA is considered the “…the robotics community’s premier annual academic conference” (icra2012.org), and “Robotics and automation are at the crossroads of new developments in algorithms, hardware, and software that pave new routes in technological innovation.” (icra2012.org)

For more information visit the workshop web page by clicking here

Permanent link to this article: http://wvrtc.com/news/dr-marani-presents-at-icra-in-minneapolois/

WVRTC Completes Quarterly Status Review

On February 14th, WVRTC hosted a status review  which was highlighted by live demonstrations from  WVRTC and  Johns Hopkins University.  Attending the event were representatives from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Alliant TechSystems (ATK).   A distinguished guest was former Astronaut Scott Altman.

The demonstrations showcased  the latest advancements in machine vision autonomous capture algorithms and the robotic compliance modes for simulated contact dynamics.   Johns Hopkins University demonstrated remote tele-operation technology by remotely cutting multi-layer insulation which is used on existing satellites.   In addition, WVU faculty and students gave presentations on the latest  “smart tool” sensor technology which included tactile sensors, chemical sensors,  and high-precision vision sensors to be implemented on future space servicing tools.



Permanent link to this article: http://wvrtc.com/news/completed-successful-february-msr/

Former Astronaut Scott Altman Visits WVRTC

Original article found here

By Mike Atkinson (DA Online)

Published: Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 00:02

Former Astronaut Scott Altman spoke about his career in space at the West Virginia University National Research Center for Coal and Energy Tuesday in the first public event hosted by the newly named Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

Altman received a bachelor of science in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the University of Illinois in 1981, and a master of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1990.

Altman said he initially wanted to be a pilot in the United States Air Force, but was turned down because he was above the height restrictions for the jets.

He later applied to the United States Navy, which has less stringent height restrictions and was accepted as a pilot.

“Sometimes when we’re chasing our dreams we hit a road block, but we find there are other ways to get where we’re going,” Altman said.

He was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy in 1981 and received his Navy wings of gold in 1983.

Altman said during his career he flew the stunt plane for the movie “Top Gun” and flew Tom Cruise in his plane.

“It was a great career flying out there,” Altman said.

In 1992, he worked as a strike leader in Iraq during Operation Northern Iraq and has logged more than 7,000 flight hours in more than 40 types of aircrafts.

He applied to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1992, where he was initially turned down before he was accepted into NASA three years later.

“Don’t give up after the first time. I had learned that lesson already,” he said.

Altman boarded four different space missions. He was the pilot on STS-90 in 1998 and STS-106 in 2000. He served as the Mission Commander on STS-109 in 2002 and STS-125 in 2009.

“That’s the accumulation of a lot of hard work when you can be in space looking back at Earth,” Altman said.

Altman said he worked during his assigned missions repairing the Hubble Space Telescope, one of the largest and most versatile space telescopes operated by the Space Telescope Science Institute.

“We fixed things that were broken, as well as added new technology,” he said. “Basically we reinvented the telescope every time.”

Altman retired from NASA in 2010 to join ASRC Research and Technology Solutions in Greenbelt, Maryland as vice president of research and planning. He has logged more than 51 days in space during his career.

Permanent link to this article: http://wvrtc.com/news/former-astronaut-visits-national-research-center-for-coal-and-energy/

WVRTC and NASA LaRC Assemble Giant 3-D Space Puzzle

514108main_truss2-1200wDSC00097Personnel from the WVRTC facility worked with researchers from NASA’s Langley Research Center to initiate procedures to construct a large strut and joint simulated space structure that could be used as the supporting structure for a telescope mirror platform. Learn more about this “Giant 3-D Space Puzzle”

Permanent link to this article: http://wvrtc.com/news/wvrtc-and-nasa-larc-assemble-giant-3-d-space-puzzle/

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