Experimentally evaluating micro-gravity control and planning algorithms for space robotic systems on earth is difficult because gravity masks the more subtle dynamic forces which dominate in space. Previous experimental test beds for micro-gravity have been largely restricted to planar motion, or have other limitations. Recently developed is a fully spatial system called the VES which overcomes many of these problems. However, compensating for the effects of gravity with the VES is a challenge. Here, two methods of gravity compensation are presented which allow fully spatial emulation of the micro-gravity interaction between a space manipulator and its supporting structure or spacecraft. Experimental results show the effectiveness of the methods.

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