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Satellite Broken? Smart Satellites to the Rescue

2 Dec 2019, 21:45 UTC
Satellite Broken? Smart Satellites to the Rescue
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When satellites break, which is surprisingly often, there isn't much you can do about them. They become expensive and dangerous flotsam, orbiting Earth for years or generations until gravity eventually draws them to a fiery death in the atmosphere. University of Cincinnati professor Ou Ma is engineering robotics technology to fix orbiting satellites in his Intelligent Robotics and Autonomous Systems Lab. He envisions robotic satellites that can dock with other satellites for repairs or refueling.The most useful repair satellite will be able to complete multiple tasks, Ma said. During his career, he has worked on various projects relating to the robotic arms aboard the International Space Station and the former space shuttle program. His signature is floating in orbit on a piece of equipment aboard the space station.In his lab, Ma and UC senior research associate Anoop Sathyan are developing robotic networks that can work independently but collaboratively on a common task.For their latest study, Ma and Sathyan put a group of robots to the test with a novel game that uses strings to move an attached token to a designated spot on a table.Since the robots each control just one string, they need the other robots' cooperation to move ...

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