Modularity for the future in space robotics: a review

Mark A. Post*, Xiu-Tian Yan, Pierre Letier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents a review of modular and reconfigurable space robot systems intended for use in orbital and planetary applications. Modular autonomous robotic systems promise to be efficient, versatile, and resilient compared with conventional and monolithic robots, and have the potential to outperform traditional systems with a fixed morphology when carrying out tasks that require a high level of flexibility. Based on a set of fundamental concepts in modular self-reconfiguring robotics, advances in applying modular self-organizing robotics technologies to aerospace applications and space mission concepts are summarized for the purpose of identifying relevant requirements and solutions. Based on this survey, critical guidelines for the implementation of in space assembly and operation using modular autonomous robotic systems are identified.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-547
Number of pages18
JournalActa Astronautica
Early online date10 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021


  • modular robots
  • modular space systems
  • reconfiguration
  • planetary exploration
  • orbital servicing


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