SE Kontur-2. The experiment purpose: development test of remote control procedures of on-planet robots from orbital spacecraft.
Reports of flight engineers Oleg Kononenko and Mikhail Kornienko.
The experiment consists of a series of remote control sessions. During each session a cosmonaut-operator from the ISS controls one of the robots located in the territory of SE participating organizations: TsNII REC and DLR-RMC getting videodata on robot movement through S-band channel. When planning each session the control object such as TsNII REC robot or DLR-RMC robot is stipulated.
The types of robots during control may vary.
The invariable in the experiment is the following:
- robot control using specially developed science equipment (such as the master manipulator (joystick) and special PMS installed on the control computer);
- robot control when flying over the ground station in Valthaym, Germany via S-band transceiver installed on the ISS RS;
- channel rates: 4 Mbit/s - downlink, 256 Kbit/s - uplink;
- control session duration – up to 10 minutes.
Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko.
Space Experiment Kontur-2 is a simulation of one of the possible scenarios of planetary exploration (for example the Moon) using the robotic manipulators being on the surface and controlled by a human operator from orbital spacecraft. In the scope of this experiment the Earth is a planet to be studied, the ISS is an orbital manned spacecraft, the ISS cosmonaut is a human operator who controls the robot being on the surface of the planet to be studied or a group of robots linked between themselves by communication channels.
A high degree of the operator “immersion” in the robot environment is an important component of efficacy of robot control. In this case the operator presence in such an environment is provided by displaying videodata of the control computer, which comes from the robot video camera and also by simulating the tactile capabilities of the robot based on a force-torque joystick to specify the control actions and playback the torque values got from the corresponding sensors.
Now I touch the lighted target by the robot which is installed on the ground.
See – this is a force-torque joystick by which I control the robot on the ground but in the near future on other planets. The joystick is developed in cooperation with the German Robotics Center and the Russian Central Research Institute of Robotics and Engineering Cybernetics (TsNII REC, St. Petersburg).
During the experiment I’m going to control the robot using videodata from the robot video camera. Videodata will come to the computer screen installed on the station (the ISS RS). During the robot control session, as a rule, you cannot divert your attention but I made an exception and tell you a little about this system.
For which purpose such an experiment is required I’ll try to explain You. Undoubtedly, it is an important step towards lunar exploration.
The robot remote control technologies for solar planets are of long standing. The development of such technologies began in the 60s and 70s with the creation of national systems such as “Lunokhod” and space manipulators for probing and sampling soil from the Moon’s surface. The task of the mentioned robots (lunar vehicles, manipulators, etc.), both then and now, is the human replacement at lunar exploration stage I to create conditions for comfortable staying on the Moon. At the next exploration stage a man can stay on the Moon in a long-duration expedition in the same way as we, cosmonauts, are on near-earth space station ISS. The man will control robots directly from the Lunar Base.
That’s all. The control session came to its end. It was one of twenty sessions of robot control which will be held this year in the scope of experiment Kontur-2. This is the first robotic experiment onboard the Russian Segment of the ISS. The ISS is an ideal place for developing the above-stated technology for robot control as performing robotic operations on the station itself (manipulators on the external surface of the station) and operating on the planets of the Solar system.
Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko
A cosmonaut on the orbital space station performs various functions. We often have to be researches, engineers, operators, sometimes even freight handlers when we unload and load the Progress vehicles but in the scope of educational experiment Great Start we also become teachers. The fact that portal Korolev Planet has section “Space education. Cosmonauts explain and talk”. It appeared on web site in 2012 and Gennady Ivanovich Padalka was the first space teacher who explained how to measure the atmosphere parameters from the ISS altitude using an ideal shape satellite. In the future practically each Russian cosmonaut will also be a teacher. This time Oleg Kononenko was a teacher.