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NASA Perfects Orbital Docking

Leica T-Probe at Flight Robotics Laboratory
NASA has used robots for many years to simulate different aspects of docking and space maneuvering. In the past, these robots were checked with static measurements, and NASA was looking for a way to check the robots' dynamic response. NASA contacted Leica Geosystems with the request for an off-the-shelf solution that would require few, if any, modifications to complete the complex measurement task remotely, with no personnel present inside the facility.
The NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) wanted the robots in the Flight Robotics Laboratory (FRL) and the Contact Dynamics Simulation Lab (CDSL), which make up the MSFC integrated testbed, to be verified using dynamic measurements with six degrees of freedom (6DoF) to determine how accurately the robots respond to commanded moves.

A top-of-the-line Leica LTD800 Laser Tracker with a Leica T-Cam and a Leica T-Probe were used for the measurements without any special modifications. This arrangement provided the measurement capability for XYZ coordinates along with rotation angles for full six degrees of freedom information for the position of the Leica T-Probe, which was used without a stylus.


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