Future potential applications of robotics for the International Space Station

S. Di Pippo, G. Colombina, R. Boumans, P. Putz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The International Space Station (ISS) will offer a unique infrastructure to enable scientists and engineers to conduct their experiments over a large timescale and to gain experiment results on a regular basis. The ISS offers both exposed accommodation of payloads and facilities inside the pressurised laboratory modules. For a number of reasons, manipulative tending of such payloads and the servicing of Space Station system elements cannot be completely performed by astronauts. This is why robotic systems are expected to play an ever increasing role in the operation of the ISS. This paper describes three robotics concepts which can be important enhancements of the currently approved ISS robotics infrastructure: a small relocateable system mounted in front of facility racks for tending of internal payloads, a medium size dexterous system to tend to payloads en an external platform, and an extension of the large European Robot Arm (ERA) by a dexterous bi-arm "end effector" for external system servicing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalRobotics and Autonomous Systems
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 1998


  • Interactive autonomy
  • International Space Station
  • Payload tending
  • Robotic system servicing
  • Space robotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • General Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications


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