IEEE RAS Space Robotics TC (historical)

The Space Robotics TC Website has moved to on Sepbember 23, 2011. Please update your links.

The Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) Technical Committee (TC) on Space Robotics was formed in May, 2006. In October, 2006, the membership voted to broaden the scope of interest of our TC to include planetary robotics (rovers) along with our initial focus on in-space (orbital) robotics.

1.0 Overview

1.1 Orbital Robotics

Automated Walking Inspection and Maintenance Robot (AWIMR).

The space (orbital) environment (micro-gravity, radiation, contamination sensitivity, thermal extremes, etc.) poses unique challenges to robotics and robot algorithms. The space (non-planetary) robotics discipline will find increasing importance in coming years, particularly as the opportunities for human-robot and robot-robot cooperation arise in space exploration. Priority areas for this technical committee include:

1.2 Planetary Rovers

Mars Science Laboratory.

The planetary environment also poses unique challenges. The distance to planetary surfaces precludes real-time teleoperation. Planetary rover technical topics include:

2.0 Upcoming Activities

2.1 The 8th International Conference on Field and Service Robotics

July 20-22, 2011, Matsushima, Miyagi, Japan

See the call for papers.

3.0 Past Activities

3.1 JUSTSAP Symposium 2010

Held on the Island of Hawaii at the Fairmont Orchid Hotel November 14-18, 2010, the 20th Anniversary JUSTSAP (Japan-U.S. Technology and Space Applications) Symposium was attended by SRTC member Rick Wagner. Here is his report.

3.2 ICRA 2010

TC Co-Chair Richard Volpe coordinated a Planetary Rovers Workshop at the 2010 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Anchorage, Alaska, USA, May 3, 2010.

Rick Wagner attended the TC Co-Chairs Meeting and the RAS TAB Meeting. Here is his report.

3.3 RAM Special Issue on Space Robotics

A special issue on space robotics of the RAS's Robotics and Automation Magazine (RAM) has been published in December of 2009. The editors of the special issue are:

3.4 RAS Chapter Guest Speaker

TC founding member Dr. Edward Tunstel was the guest speaker for the RAS Washington Section Chapter on March 6, 2008 at the University of Maryland. His topic was "Space Robotics for Science and Exploration on Planetary Surfaces."

From Dr. Tunstel's abstract:

This talk provides an overview of some of the robotics technologies receiving attention today to enable needed capabilities for current and future missions on the surfaces of other planets.

See the event flyer (linked below) for more information.

Event flyer PDF file

3.5 2008 Space Robotics Workshop

Two follow-on Space Robotics Workshops were held at ICRA '08 (May 19 and 20, 2008), one on planetary rovers, organized by TC Co-Chair Rich Volpe, and one on orbital robotics, organized by TC Corresponding Co-Chair Rick Wagner.

3.6 Space Robotics Presentation

Rick Wagner gave a presentation on the TC, space robotics in general, and lessons learned on the Northrop Grumman AWIMR project at the November 13, 2007 meeting of the Robotics, Computational Intelligence, and Cybernetics Chapter (RCICC) of the IEEE at the building S Forum at One Space Park, Redondo Beach, CA, 70278, at 6:30 PM. Pizza was served and the interested public was invited. The presentation seemed to be well received by those in attendance.

3.7 Participation in IROS 2007

Corresponding Co-Chair Rick Wagner attended IROS 2007 and wrote this report.

3.8 Space Robotics Workshop at ICRA 2007

Our Space Robotics Workshop at ICRA 2007 in Rome, Italy, 10-14 April, was well attended and received. Organized by TC founding Co-Chair Rich Volpe and founding Co-Chair Rick Wagner, the workshop combined both planetary robotics (rovers) with in-space (orbital) robotics topics, in keeping with our larger scope of interest for the TC. See our Web page ICRA '07 Space Robotics Workshop for more information and some photographs from the workshop.


The RAS Space Robotics TC Co-Chair, Rick Wagner, presented a description of our TC to the AIAA SARTC meeting at NASA Ames Research Center on September 19, 2006. See his report on the meeting.

4.0 Background

4.1 Membership

The Space Robotics TC now has 25 members. Please see our membership page for more information. To join, send an email to Rich Volpe (volpe at jpl dot nasa dot gov).

Also see the RAS Technical Committees list.

5.0 Links

SpaceRoboticsTC.old.html, this hand-crafted HTML file was created August 22, 2006.
Converted to a historical site on September 23, 2011.
Last updated September 23, 2011, by Rick Wagner.