Multibody System Dynamics

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 431–455 | Cite as

Virtual-base modeling and coordinated control of a dual-arm space robot for target capturing and manipulation

  • Lei Yan
  • Wenfu XuEmail author
  • Zhonghua Hu
  • Bin Liang


A dual-arm space robotic system has large potential in on-orbit servicing missions, such as satellite repairing, large space structure construction and space debris removal. However, there exist multiple dynamic couplings between the base, the manipulators and the target, bringing large challenge to the motion planning and control. In this paper, a virtual-base modeling method (VBM) and coordinated control strategy are proposed for a dual-arm space robot. One of the arms’ end-effector is considered as the virtual base, and the other bodies, including each link of the arms and the center body of the spacecraft, form a combined manipulator. Correspondingly, we derive the kinematic and dynamic equations of the combined manipulator with the virtual base, taking it as a hyper-redundant space manipulator. Furthermore, the coordinated trajectory planning and control methods are presented for capturing and manipulating a space target. For the pre-contact stage, the virtual base and end-effector are controlled simultaneously to track the desired trajectory in the inertial space. During contact, the operational force is regulated using admittance control law, by simplifying the operational forces of the two arms as the equivalent operational force of the combined manipulator. After the target is captured and fixed to the two arms, its pose is adjusted by simultaneously controlling the trajectory and the operational force of the virtual base and the combined manipulator. Finally, a co-simulation system is created based on MATLAB/Simulink and MSC.ADAMS. Simulation results verify the effectiveness and robustness of the proposed methods.


Space robot Virtual base modeling Generalized Jacobian Reactionless motion Dual-arm coordinated control 



Position vectors from \({J}_{i}^{k}\) to \({C}_{i}^{k}\) and \({C}_{i}^{k}\) to \({J}_{i + 1}^{k}\)


Position vector from the CM of base \({B}_{0}\) to joint \({J}_{1}^{k}\)


Center of mass (CM) of rigid body \({B}_{i}^{k}\)

\(\boldsymbol{E}_{n}, \boldsymbol{O}_{n}\):

\(n\times n\) identity and zero matrices


Inertia matrices of \({B}_{0}\) and \({B}_{i}^{k}\) with respect to the CM coordinate system of each body


the \(i\)th joint of Arm-\(k\)


Total mass of the system

\(m_{0}, m_{i}^{k}\):

Masses of \({B}_{0}\) and \({B}_{i}^{k}\)


Position vectors of \({J}_{i}^{k}\) and Arm-\(k\)’s end-effector


Position vector of the system’s CM


Position vectors of the base’s CM and \({C}_{i}^{k}\)


Generalized coordinates of Arm-\(k\)

\(\boldsymbol{v}_{0}, \boldsymbol{\omega}_{0}\):

Linear and angular velocities of \({B}_{0}\)

\(\boldsymbol{v}_{i}^{k}, \boldsymbol{\omega}_{i}^{k}\):

Linear and angular velocities of \({B}_{i}^{k}\)

\(\boldsymbol{v}_{e}^{k}, \boldsymbol{\omega}_{e}^{k}\):

Linear and angular velocities of end-effectors


Euler angles of the base and end-effector of Arm-\(k\) (\(k=a\), \(b\), \(c\))

Note that unless specified, the vectors with superscript \(a\), \(b\), \(c\) represent the vectors corresponding to Arm-\(a\), Arm-\(b\) and the combined manipulator, respectively.



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 61573116, U1613227), Guangdong Special Support Program (Grant No. 2017TX04X0071) and Shenzhen Key Lab Fund of Mechanisms and Control in Aerospace (Grant No. ZDSYS201703031002066).

Conflict of interest and ethical standard statement

YAN, XU, HU and LIANG declare that they have no proprietary, financial, professional or other personal interest of any nature or kind in any product, service and/or company that could be construed as influencing the position presented in, or the review of, the manuscript entitled “Virtual-base modeling and coordinated control of a dual-arm space robot for target capturing and manipulation”.

The work described has not been submitted elsewhere for publication, in whole or in part, and all the authors listed have approved the manuscript that is enclosed. We have read and have abided by the statement of ethical standards for manuscripts submitted to Multibody System Dynamics.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mechanical Engineering and AutomationHarbin Institute of TechnologyShenzhenChina
  2. 2.Department of AutomationTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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