Tethers Unlimited, Inc. (TUI) proposes to develop the “ARTIE”, an androgynous robotic tool-change interface for hard and soft capture of tools and infrastructure support for robotic assets on the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway. ARTIE serves as a miniaturized power and data grapple interface for use on robotic assets, such as TUI’s KRAKEN robotic manipulator and NASA’s Astrobee. A Gateway version of Astrobee and KRAKEN can share tools and payloads with other assets for more efficient use of Gateway resources. The androgynous nature of ARTIE will allow the same interface to be used throughout the Gateway as an infrastructural element. ARTIE can also serve Astrobee docking, support of a Gateway KRAKEN for base mounting and inch-worming, and dynamic reconfigurability of all Gateway robotic assets. The low-profile nature of ARTIE also reduces the cost and overhead of including soft-capture fixtures on payloads tools and infrastructural elements where autonomous support is anticipated. In the Phase I effort, a proof of concept mechanism will be built and demonstrated to establish the feasibility of a small form-factor androgynous hard and soft capture connector, maturing the TRL to 4. In Phase II, the design will be implemented as an Astrobee payload for functional testing on the ISS.
The ARTIE interface will provide tool-change functionality for robotic systems supporting astronaut activities and autonomous operations on the ISS and the Deep Space Gateway, on platforms such as AstroBee and the MANTIS teleoperation system. It will also support robotic manipulator functionalities for in-Space Assembly activities such as construction of the 30 m iSAT Space Telescope.
The ARTIE interface will enable TUI"s KRAKEN robotic arm to perform multiple functions in robotic assembly and in-space manufacturing systems such as the LEO Knight smallsat servicing vehicle, the OrbWeaver payload, and the AF/SMC Advanced Space Testbed (XST) Platform.