January 10, 2023

A General Framework for Remote Command and Control of Robots in Space

by Dr. Mark Moll
A General Framework for Remote Command and Control

Future space missions are expected to be increasingly uncrewed and robots are expected to perform station keeping duties. The state of the art in robotics makes full autonomous operation at rigorous space safety standards extremely challenging. At the same time, the communication delay between robots in space and operators on earth makes traditional teleoperation painfully slow. We have developed a hardware-agnostic framework for remotely operating robots that bridges the gap between full autonomy and teleoperation. The framework provides parametrized, reusable building blocks (called behaviors) for performing general robot operations such as opening hatches, pressing buttons, and picking up objects. When using these behaviors, an operator provides a few command inputs and approves the automatically computed plan before it is remotely executed. These behaviors can also be combined into much more complex objectives that can encode fallback behaviors if a particular behavior fails or conditional behaviors that depend on user or sensor inputs.

[ Read the full whitepaper here]