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We describe the Ranger robotic system and its autonomous hazard control system, which is designed to meet the stringent criteria imposed on space shuttle payloads. Mature Ranger systems have enabled evaluation of telerobotic servicing tasks in a variety of 1-g and neutral buoyancy environments. These evaluations have included rigorous testing with operators that ranged from experienced system designers to small children who frequently activate the safety system as they operate manipulators without skill or caution. Originally developed to demonstrate space-based robotic servicing as a shuttle payload, Ranger has subsequently evolved into an Earth-based test bed for robotic servicing tasks.
Date of Publication: Sept.-Oct. 2004