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Russian cosmonauts to control ground-based robots from world sole orbiter

August 06, 2015, 16:54 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG
The technologies are planned for use during the exploration of the Moon’s surface when the construction of a lunar base will be assigned to robots controlled from ISS and from Earth
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© EPA/NASA TV

ST. PETERSBURG, August 6. /TASS/. Cosmonauts will be able to control robots on the Earth from the International Space Station (ISS), Director and Chief Designer of the Central R&D Institute of Robotics and Technical Cybernetics Alexander Lopota told TASS on Thursday.

The chief designer also said the technologies developed by Russia and Germany would help explore the Moon’s surface.

"The Kontur-2 experiment includes 20 communications sessions between the ISS and control centers located in Russia and Germany," he said.

A cosmonaut operator can both see images on the monitor and feel the robot’s movements and its contact with the surrounding environment through the joystick handle, which helps achieve the cosmonaut operator’s tele-presence, he said.

The first communications session is planned in August and the others in October-November, said Vladimir Zaborovsky, scientific head of the Kontur-2 experiment and deputy chief designer of the Central R$D Institute of Robotics and Technical Cybernetics.

"For the first time in the world, we’ll control ground-based robots from the outer space, using the technology of force-torque sensing. We’ll immerse an operator moving with a cosmic velocity in a world surrounding the robot and located at a great distance," Zaborovsky said.

"The technologies being developed as part of the Kontur-2 project are planned for use during the exploration of the Moon’s surface when the construction of a lunar base will be assigned to robots while their actions will be controlled by cosmonauts from a lunar orbital station and specialists on the Earth."

The scientific equipment for the experiment has been developed by specialists of the Central R&D Institute of Robotics and Technical Cybernetics and the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics (DLR) in Munich, Germany.

The experiment is being held as part of the program developed by Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and specialists of the Russian Rocket and Space Corporation Energiya.

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