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Reaching for the stars

The West Virginia Robotic Technology Center, located in Fairmont, is operated by the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University. The WVRTC employs full-time staff to conduct research and development that supports robotic space operations and supporting technology. 

The prime focus of the WVRTC is to support the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Research efforts include supporting pioneering efforts to capture orbiting satellites for refueling and repair in order to extend the operational life of the asset. The WVRTC accesses the knowledge, students and faculty, and resources of the University and Statler College to develop new technology for real-world applications. Prior on campus studies have included the development sensors for harsh environments, machine vision and algorithm development.

Research areas for the WVRTC include machine vision, relative navigation, advanced sensor systems and robotic control. In addition, the large space simulation laboratory pictured below houses multiple robotic platforms that serve as advanced operational testbeds for research and development.

The WVRTC maintains multiple robotic platforms for technology development in the field of space robotics. The robotic platforms are flexible and are used to test machine vision algorithms, compliance operations, haptic sensors and teleoperation procedures for satellite servicing operations. The WVRTC and staff are very collaborative and invite inquiries for potential interactions.

Mission

To cooperate and work closely with GSFC to support development of robotics technologies for in-space operations by working with their personnel as well as collaboratively with other industries and academic partners.

Vision

The WVRTC is a comprehensive center designed to promote the active development of robotic satellite technologies to support manned and unmanned NASA missions, to promote on campus workforce development to meet future NASA needs, and to promote research and education in a testbed environment that can lead to innovative development of new technologies.