International Space Station
Neptec Design Group, Ltd. of Kanata, Ontario, Canada, is building the Space Vision System (SVS) that will be used in the construction of the International Space Station by NASA and the space agencies of 12 other countries.
The components of the Space Station will be carried into orbit by a series of shuttle missions, and assembled over six year period.
The SVS uses special electronics, software and graphic displays to give improved vision and thereby enhance control of the huge shuttle robot arm. The system functions by tracking visual targets on items being handled, using cameras on both the shuttle and the space station.
This tracking will give operators a precise, moving graphic image of load position in three dimensions, and allow for more accurate control than could be achieved using earlier robot arm controls. Before the SVS concept was developed, astronauts had to rely on images from video cameras, and on limited views through small spacecraft windows to guide them in controlling robot functions. The new vision system will be used on each shuttle mission as the station is assembled, allowing astronauts to precisely control the spacecraft’s robotic arm for docking, moving cargo, and assembling components.
The Canadian electronics company is supplying NASA with vision systems for both ground training of astronauts at the Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston, Texas, and for use with the International Space Station.