LCSR Seminar: Balazs Vagvolgyi “On-Orbit Robotic Satellite Servicing”

September 19, 2018 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Hackerman B17
Ashley Moriarty


There are currently over two thousand satellites catalogued on-orbit. Most of them were designed with a finite service life limited by fuel for attitude control and altitude boost. When the fuel is consumed, or a fault occurs in a satellite, we presently lack the ability to conduct on-orbit refueling and repairs. NASA’s Space Shuttle Program enabled a variety of satellite service missions, but all were performed by human spacewalks or robots controlled by crew from within the spacecraft. The most well-known examples are the Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions. However, the risks and cost of using astronauts make satellite servicing by humans prohibitive in all but a very few cases. NASA is currently developing the capabilities necessary to perform satellite servicing tasks telerobotically, with ground-based robot operators. The planned unmanned servicing spacecraft will be equipped with an array of sensors, remotely operated robotic arms, and servicing tools.

In the talk, I will give an overview of NASA’s past and future servicing missions and discuss the partnership between JHU’s Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics (LCSR) and NASA’s Satellite Servicing Projects Division (SSPD) in developing novel robot control methods and robotic tools for upcoming missions. The research efforts at JHU-LCSR focus on facilitating the cutting of thermal insulation on satellites using force sensitive robotic tools and dynamical modeling of the cutting process, and improving the situational awareness of robot operators while performing complex manipulation tasks with limited visual feedback by employing mixed-reality visualization techniques.



Balazs P. Vagvolgyi is an Associate Research Scientist in the Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics at the Johns Hopkins University. He holds a MSc in Computer Science. Before coming to JHU in 2006, he worked on the imaging pipeline of flat-panel interventional vascular X-ray systems at GE Healthcare. He briefly left Hopkins in 2013-2014 to build real-time imaging solutions for mobile as Chief Scientist for Spherical Inc. in San Francisco, CA. His professional interests and research focus on real-time computer vision and visualization, primarily in the context of robotics and medical interventions.


Recorded Fall 2018 Seminars

Laboratory for Computational Sensing + Robotics