NASA Sends Dextre to Fix the Hubble

August 11, 2004
DEXTRE

NASA has decided to try to save the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope by sending a Canadian-made robot Dextre to fix it, agency officials say. Dextre - formally the Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator - is a complex robot designed to perform intricate maintenance and servicing tasks on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS). It has demonstrated to engineers that it's fully capable of replacing Hubble's failing hardware.

Earlier this week NASA reported that one of four science instruments aboard NASA's Hubble's Space Telescope suspended operations, and engineers are now looking into possible recovery options.

NASA has decided to service the Hubble Space Telescope using a robotic repairman to change batteries and gyroscopes. Everybody says, 'We want to save the Hubble' -- well, let's go save the Hubble," said NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe.

Researchers at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland are instructed to begin serious work to put the robotic mission into space in 2007. It will cost at least $1 billion and possibly $1.6 billion to save the telescope.

About Dextre
Dextre is a sophisticated dual armed robot, which is part of Canada's contribution to the International Space Station (ISS). Along with Canadarm2, whose technical name is the Space Station Remote Manipulator System, and a moveable work platform called the Mobile Base System, these three elements form a robotic system called the Mobile Servicing System (MSS). The three components have been designed to work together or independently.

Dextre is an essential tool for maintaining and servicing the space station. With its dual-arm design providing added flexibility, Dextre will remove and replace smaller components on the Station’s exterior, where precise handling is required. It will be equipped with lights, video equipment, a tool platform and four tool holders.

Dextre can perform dexterous tasks by sensing various forces and moments on the payload. In response, it can automatically compensate its movements to ensure the payload is manipulated smoothly.

With its two arms, Dextre will load and unload objects, use robotic tools, attach and detach covers and install various units of the Space Station. It also has four cameras that will provide the crew inside the Station with additional views of the work areas.

Explore further: NASA robotic servicing demonstrations continue onboard the space station

Related Stories

Robotic refueling mission practices new tasks

May 13, 2013

(Phys.org) —With a historic robotic refueling demo ticked off its checklist, NASA's Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) put down the hose and picked up the screwdriver and utility knife. This latest round of satellite-servicing ...

NASA's new winds mission installed, gathers first data

October 9, 2014

NASA's newest Earth observing mission, the International Space Station-Rapid Scatterometer, or ISS-RapidScat, is collecting its first science data on ocean wind speeds and direction following its successful installation and ...

Recommended for you

New lizard named after Sir David Attenborough

August 3, 2015

A research team led by Dr Martin Whiting from the Department of Biological Sciences recently discovered a beautifully coloured new species of flat lizard, which they have named Platysaurus attenboroughi, after Sir David Attenborough.

'Snowball earth' might be slushy

August 3, 2015

Imagine a world without liquid water—just solid ice in all directions. It would certainly not be a place that most life forms would like to live.

A look at living cells down to individual molecules

August 3, 2015

EPFL scientists have been able to produce footage of the evolution of living cells at a nanoscale resolution by combining atomic force microscopy and an a super resolution optical imaging system that follows molecules that ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.