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"ROBO" Operators Visit Goddard

On September 21, 2011, the Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office (SSCO) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center hosted the team of Robot Operators from the Johnson Space Center (JSC).

Who are the "Robot Operators?" A mix of robotic experts from NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) who are certified to staff the "ROBO" (NASA Mission Control speak for robotics) console positions at NASA's Mission Control Center in Houston, TX. From there, they operate the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator robot, known as "Dextre," on board the International Space Station to perform a wide range of on-orbit robotic tasks and activities.

While at Goddard, the ROBO team fine-tuned the upcoming Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) Coolant Valve Panel task procedures that Dextre will perform on orbit to demonstrate satellite-servicing jobs. Working with the SSCO team in the black-walled Goddard Satellite Servicing Development Facility, the ROBOs provided valuable input and insight—a collaboration that matured the RRM procedures developed by the SSCO team.

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Meet the team. From left to right: Ian Mills (NASA/SSCO), Matt Ashmore (NASA/SSCO), Robert Pickle (NASA/ROBO), Joe Easley (NASA/SSCO), Justin Cassidy (NASA/SSCO), Alex Janas (NASA/SSCO), Ed Rezac (NASA/SSCO), John Bellingham (CSA/ROBO), Tom Hanyok (NASA/SSCO), Atif Qureshi (NASA/ROBO), Tom Walsh (NASA/SSCO), Deana Smith (CSA/ROBO), and Christy Hansen (NASA/SSCO). Working closely together, the GSFC SSCO and JSC ROBO experts are one team, and they are ready to make history.
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SSCO robot operator Alex Janas (holding tool) briefs the RRM ROBO lead Robert Pickle (to left to Janas) and other visiting ROBO team members on the RRM wire cutting and manipulation tasks. Janas holds a high-fidelity working model of the Robotic Refueling Mission Wire Cutter Tool.
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ROBO systems lead Deana Smith of the Canadian Space Agency, standing before the high-fidelity mock-up of the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM), examines some of the interfaces she will be manipulating on-orbit with the Dextre robot. The SSCO Robotic Demonstration Team has nicknamed this fully operational mockup the "RRM Operational Simulator for Integration and Evaluation," or ROSIE.
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SSCO tool designer Matt Ashmore (right) provides operational details on RRM tools to ROBO team members Atif Qureshi (left) and Ian Mills (center), as well as SSCO robot operator Joe Easley (second from left).
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With the robot and ROSIE in the background, RRM ROBO lead Robert Pickle (second from right) discusses procedure details with ROBO team members. SSCO robot operators on the consoles practice the RRM operations in the Goddard Satellite Servicing Development Facility.
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SSCO team member Joe Easley monitors camera views and operations in the Goddard Satellite Servicing Development Facility.
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Camera views show what the ROBO team will see during on-orbit operations.
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The Goddard Facility's FANUC robot serves as a Dextre "stand-in" in the lab. It is used to access RRM tools and interfaces as SSCO develops concepts and procedures for on-orbit satellite servicing tasks.
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More often than not these days, the Goddard Satellite Servicing Development Facility is a flurry of activity. At the center are four server and computing stations that support four robot systems. An immensely talented and busy team is the real star of the show.
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ROBO team members Ian Mills (left) and Atif Qureshi (right) manipulate an Ambient Cap Adapter by hand before the task is performed with the robot.
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SSCO robot operators Alex Janas and Joe Easley (left) review RRM coolant valve tasks with visiting ROBO team members Deana Smith, Atif Qureshi, Ian Mills and RRM ROBO lead Robert Pickle.
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SSCO robot operator Joe Easley (second from right) provides development insight while discussing flight procedures and design nuances with visiting JSC ROBO team members.
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The multi-partner JSC ROBO Team, from left to right: Ian Mills/NASA, John Bellingham/CSA, Deana Smith/CSA, Atif Qureshi/NASA, and Robert Pickle/NASA.
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