Orbital Robotics: Orbit Modification
Swiss researchers have successfully managed to develop a robot that can grasp objects thrown at it. The 1.5 metre-long robotic arm has seven joints and a sophisticated hand with four fingers
In the future, the uncontrolled and accidental de-orbiting of other huge satellites is expected, where parts of these will hit the surface of the Earth.
A feasible way to handle such problems might be to enforce the operational requirement to use some dedicated residual fuel for a controlled de-orbiting, or in case of GEO, to lift the satellites at their end of life into the graveyard orbit. Despite these measures, malfunctions of solar generators, control systems or thrusters cannot be avoided. Therefore, on-orbit servicing (OOS) will be a mandatory and challenging topic for space robotics in the near future.