Xinhua News Agency writers Wang Chen Xi, Lee Guo Li
Beijing, July 5 (Xinhua)-Mechanical arms attached to Tiangong, the core module of China’s space station, play an important role in supporting astronauts’ EVA on Sunday. Played.
The mechanical arm ensures safe and reliable operation of the space station in orbit, assists EVA astronauts in space station assembly, construction, maintenance, repair, etc., and supports space applications. It is designed.
A 10.2 meter long robot arm mounted on the Tianhe module can carry up to 25 tons of weight. It consists of 7 joints, 2 rims, 2 sets of extension gears, 2 sets of end cameras and effectors (also known as end of arm tooling), a set of central controller, and an elbow camera.
The mechanical arm with limbs and joints acts as a human arm with shoulders, elbows and wrists. By rotating each joint, you can grab the device and operate it at any angle or position.
“The end effector of the arm can be docked with the target adapter mounted on the outer surface of the spacecraft. By docking and separating the end effector and the target adapter, the arm can move along the surface of the space station.” Stated. Wang Youyu, a mechanical arm designer at the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST).
In a computer-illustrated video published by CAST, the arms use two end effectors to move between surface target adapters, like an inch worm crawling on the head and back, to multiple locations on the outer surface of the space station. To reach. You can do the job conveniently.
The core module arm not only operates independently, but can also be combined with the mechanical arm attached to the lab module. It may be released next year. The composite arm can reach a working diameter of 15 meters.
The mechanical arm mounted on the Tenwa module with a design life of 15 years, a load capacity of 25 tons, and a tip positioning accuracy of 45 mm realizes long-distance heavy-load operation and short-distance detailed operation.
The arm is designed for module transposition, astronaut EVA, outboard cargo handling, space station condition inspection, and maintenance of large equipment, CAST said.
For example, two lab modules dock with the core module to form a T-shaped complex. It cannot be docked directly with the side docking port of the core module because it is restricted by the attitude control of the lab module.
Instead, each lab module must be docked with the core module’s front docking port, and then a small mechanical arm moves it to dock with the side port. The arm attached to the core module also acts as a backup.
Yang Hong, chief designer of CAST’s space station, said the large arm of the core module helps to secure and facilitate the spacecraft when it is approaching the dock or needs repair, maintenance, or supply. Said. procedure. The space station can be thought of as the home port of space.
According to Yang, mechanical arms will reduce the burden on astronauts in EVA as much as possible.
The end effector can be docked with a foot restraint platform on which astronauts can stand. They can use their arms to send themselves where they need them.
“We can move astronauts over a wide area so that they can easily reach their operating positions during EVA,” he added.
This arm integrates mechanical engineering, mechanics, materials, control, electronics, information, vision, and computer science technologies. With its precise manipulation and visual recognition ability, it is capable of autonomous analysis and is remotely controlled by astronauts.
In addition to the EVA, this arm also helps astronauts move the sun wing of the core module and place the payload on the outer surface of the station.
Cameras are mounted on both ends and elbows, allowing astronauts to perform extravehicular activities.
“There are some areas in the station that need to be regularly checked by the robotic arm,” said Hu Chengwei, another CAST mechanical arm designer.
“For example, before the launch of the Tianzhou 2 cargo ship, it was used to monitor and evaluate the condition of the core module’s rear docking port in preparation for docking with Tianzhou 2.” I added.
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