The Canadian contribution to the International Space Station "Freedom" is the Mobile Servicing System (MSS). The MSS (Figure 1.0) is a collection of robotic elements configured to support the assembly, maintenance and servicing of the space station. The major components of the MSS are: Ã‚Â° Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS): a large robotic manipulator arm with seven degrees of freedom used primarily for handling large objects on station including the capture and docking of the shuttle orbiter. Ã‚Â° Special purpose Dextrous Manipulator(SPDM): a smaller two arm robotic device capable of performing robotic servicing tasks requiring dexterity. Ã‚Â° Mobile Servicing Centre (MSC): a mobile base for the MSS from which the robotic manipulators can be operated remotely and used to transport payloads around station. Although these manipulators will usually be controlled directly or remotely by astronauts, a fundamental component of the MSS Control Equipment (MCE) is an Artificial Vision Unit (AVU), which will play a major role in both manual and automatic control of the manipulators and cameras. The baseline specification states that the AVU will support the rendezvous and proximity operations including payload tracking, payload capture and payload berthing3. In one mode, the AVU shall provide data to the astronaut operator in the form of textual and graphical displays. In another mode, the AVU data shall allow the closed loop control of MSS manipulators for these operations. The baseline also requires Fine Robotic Service tasks to be provided with machine vision support. This paper deals with some aspects of a program to develop the necessary machine vision technologies.
S. G. Maclean,
"Vision system development in a space simulation laboratory", Proc. SPIE 1395, Close-Range Photogrammetry Meets Machine Vision, 139503 (1 August 1990); doi: 10.1117/12.2294246; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2294246