The special section on Space Robotics of the Frontiers of Robotics and AI is dedicated to publishing new and important findings in the rapidly expanding field of space robotics. Space robotics is broadly defined as the intersection of control, articulated mechanisms, artificial intelligence, path-planning, computer vision, astrodynamics and space sciences. Due to the increased interest in robotic and autonomous systems for operations in a space environment ‒ either in the vicinity of Earth or on other planets and asteroids ‒ there is an urgent need for reliable robotic in-orbit satellite servicing, inspection, refueling and health monitoring technology, all of which are becoming essential for future space missions.
The Space Robotics section welcomes submissions that investigate new algorithms for robotic mechanisms, autonomous satellites and spacecraft that deal with the peculiarities and challenges of the space environment, e.g., zero-g environment, high contrast and changing illumination conditions, limited on-board energy, power and computational resources, radiation, few references points for relative navigation, etc. Submissions that address shared autonomy (human-robot interaction) in space are also welcomed, as well as articles dealing with more general topics, such as necessary infrastructure architectures and sensor and actuator development to support future robotic missions. While the emphasis is mainly on algorithms for supporting robotic autonomous and semi-autonomous operations in space, articles dealing with experimental demonstrations of prior developed algorithms are important and therefore encouraged.