Satellite Surgery — Without Delay

Summer 2014


Whiting School researchers are helping NASA adapt robotic systems developed for human medical procedures to fi x ailing satellites soaring miles above the Earth.

During human surgery, a doctor using the da Vinci Surgical System sits at a console, remotely operating instruments inside the body, and can see immediately what the tools are doing. But because of the distance in “space surgery,” an earthbound technician operating a similar console to repair or refuel a space satellite faces a multisecond delay between executing a task and seeing the results. That drawback could jeopardize the success of the mission.

Now, a team that includes Peter Kazanzides, an associate research professor in the Department of Computer Science, is developing software for NASA to eliminate the delay from satellite servicing.

In Impact