Plenary Talk by Dr. Hong LIU

Chinese Space Station Remote Manipulator System (CSSRMS)


Hong Liu, PhD

Harbin Institute of Technology
Harbin, China

Time: 9AM-10AM, December 14
Venue: Ballroom, 3rd Floor


China’s manned space station, namely Tiangong, will have been built by 2020. It consists of one core module (CM), two experimental modules (EM), and one cargo spaceship. These modules will be assembled in orbit. There are also many science experiment payloads on Tiangong. In the last years the Chinese Manned Space Engineering (CMSE) office organized an expert committee to investigate the possibility that robotic manipulators can be employed in the construction of the Tiangong and payload servicing. After several months’ investigation, the conclusion is that robot manipulator system goes to Tiangong!

The main tasks for the Chinese space station remote manipulator system(CSSRMS) are assembly of modules in orbit, science payload servicing, astronaut extra vehicular activity(EVA) support, Tiangong outside inspection, cargos handling and big optic equipment maintenance. The CSSRMS consists of two robot manipulators as a core module manipulator (CMM, about 10m long, referred to as big manipulator) and an experimental module manipulator (EMM, about 5m long, referred to as small manipulator), wherein the CMM will be mounted on CM for large move range and EMM mounted on the EM for fine manipulation. Both manipulators can work independently, and they can be also connected together for more large volume. They share one remote control console in CM, and each has 7 degrees of freedom (DOF) and two end effectors.

In this report, the fine manipulator EMM will be described in detail. In addition, some ideas about further robotic application on the Tiangong, such as a robonaut mounted on the EMM or CMM, will be discussed.


Prof. Hong Liu received his bachelor degree and doctor’s degree from the Harbin Institute of Technology, in 1986 and 1993, respectively. In 1991 he joined DLR (the German Aerospace Center) as joint Ph.D candidate and worked on three-finger robot hand. Since 1993 he has worked as a key researcher on the DLR 4-finger Hand and the HIT/DLR 5-finger Hand. In 1999 he was awarded the Chang Jiang Scholars Program and received a professorship of Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT).

Since 1999 he has been the leader of the HIT-DLR Joint Robotics Lab in HIT. He has published more than 200 papers in robotics, mainly on robot sensing, sensory feedback, mechatronics, medical and space robotics. He was the prime investigator of first Chinese space robot arm, which has been successfully tested in 2013.

In 2007 he received the first prize of Technology Transfer Award, which is the most important EU-wide award for robotics research to raise the profile of technology transfer between science and industry. In 2008 he received the second prize of National Award of Technological Invention of China. In 2010, he was also awarded the Chinese Recruitment Program of Global Experts. Up to date, it is the most important recruitment program in China.