While the majority of terrestrial multi-link manipulators can be considered in a purely kinematic sense due to their high stiffness, the launch mass restrictions of aerospace applications such as in-orbit assembly of large space structures result in low stiffness links being employed, meaning dynamics can no longer be ignored. This paper seeks to investigate the suitability of several different open and closed loop control techniques for application to the problem of end effector position control with minimal vibration for a low stiffness space based manipulator. Simulations of a representative planar problem with two flexible links are used to measure performance and sensitivity to parameter variation of: model predictive control, command shaping, and command shaping with linear quadratic regulator (LQR) feedback. An experimental testbed is then used to validate simulation results for the recommended command shaped controller.

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