In a breakthrough development, researchers have designed an advanced walking robot that could revolutionize large construction undertakings in space. Researchers tested the viability of the robot for in-space assembling a 25m Large Aperture Space Telescope (LAST).
The findings are presented in Frontiers in Robotics and AI.
A simpler prototype of the robot also shows potential for large construction applications on earth.
Space requires maximum maintenance and servicing of large constructions, where the conditions are severe and human technology has a short lifespan. Robotics, extravehicular activities, and autonomous systems solutions have been useful for servicing and maintenance operations, and have helped the space community undertake ground-breaking research on various space missions.
Meanwhile, advancements in autonomous systems and robotics facilitate a spectrum of in-space services. These services include but are not limited to earth observation, manufacturing, astronomy, assembly maintenance, and debris removal.
With innumerable risks involved, only relying on human builders is not enough, and current technologies are becoming obsolete.
Therefore, it is required to introduce sustainable, futuristic technology to support the current and growing orbital landscape, explained the co-author. With the expansion of space missions, the need for more extensive infrastructures in orbit surfaces. Assembly missions in space thus hold key responsibility to meet the increasing demand.
Meanwhile, since the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope and its subsequent equipment, the James Webb Space Telescope, the space fraternity has been continuously progressing towards deploying larger and newer telescopes with larger apertures.
In fact, on Earth, assembling telescopes such as 25m LAST is not possible with the current launch vehicles due to their limited size. This implies larger telescopes ideally need to be assembled in space or in orbit.