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The Avatar Project

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5 Author(s)

CSA (Canadian Space Agency) is currently developing and conducting a series of experiments dubbed Avatar to investigate different command and control schemes allowing operators to interact with robots in space or on other planets. The objective of the Avatar experiments is to develop and test concepts in support of future space exploration missions. Although some of the concepts can be (and have been!) tested on Earth by simulating space-relevant communication links, the benefits of conducting them from the ISS are numerous. First, the usage of an intermittent amateur radio link has raised several issues regarding the robustness of the software: it is impossible to cheat when the communication link really goes down. It has also allowed the team to develop unique operational expertise. One final advantage not to be neglected is the fact that these experiments will have provided flight heritage to the command and control concepts described in this article and to the software that was used to implement them. Such heritage is precious in the traditionally conservative space community.

Published in:

IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 4 )