DYMAFLEX: DYnamic MAnipulation FLight EXperiment

PI: David Akin, University of Maryland - College Park

The purpose of DYMAFLEX is to investigate the coupled dynamics and associated controller-based mitigation strategies for a free-flying vehicle with a high-performance manipulator performing tasks analogous to satellite servicing. A high-performance, low-mass manipulator has been developed for this purpose and mounted to a free floating base. The manipulator incorporates 4 degrees of freedom and is designed to operate at a maximum tip speed of 25 cm/s. A single parabolic flight mission is needed to achieve DYMAFLEX’s objectives. The main objective is to determine the coupled dynamics between the manipulator and a free-floating base.

Technology Areas (?)
  • TA04 Robotics, Tele-Robotics and Autonomous Systems
Problem Statement

A single parabolic flight will allow a number of motion trajectories to be observed. The G-loads desired for the spacecraft is microgravity. While the DYMAFLEX manipulator has been designed to work in 1g, a 0g environment will be the most relevant to the final application and allow for verification of the system in its proposed operational environment.

Technology Maturation

Flying in a 0 g, or near 0g, environment will allow DYMAFLEX to move from TRL4 to TRL6.

Flight Experiment Objectives

The purpose of the test is to determine how well the manipulator is able to compensate for the motion of the free-flying base because of the coupled dynamics. This will be done by moving the manipulator along a pre-determined trajectory (motion will be on the order of 10 seconds). Incremental and absolute encoders in each joint, as well as an IMU in the tip of the manipulator, will record the manipulator’s motion. IMUs in the base will be used to record the motion of the base of the spacecraft. Visual targets will be placed on the vehicle’s exterior as a secondary method of motion capture of the vehicle and manipulator motion.

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    AFO6 (June 2013)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    TRL 6
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 1 Parabolic

Development Team

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