The Robot Application Programming Interface Delegate Project


Motivation and Need
NASA has expressed its interest in collaborating with international partners for exploration beyond low Earth orbit. This has been both from the agency in meetings with other space faring nations and with direction from the White House in the 2010 release of the US Space Policy. During 2009 and 2010 NASA engaged ESA, JAXA, CSA and other agencies in the development of a Global Point of Departure for lunar exploration. The International Architecture Working Group (IAWG) found a wide range of international partnership opportunities for lunar exploration. The IAWG’s Robotics Functional team identified several ideas, including robotic precursors, human-robotic assistants, crew mobility, long duration robotic servicing, and payload off-loading of both US and international landers. This mix of robotics engineers from ESA, JASA, NASA and CSA also developed a large scale robot relocation strategy called the “International Robotics Convoy” that could move assets between crew landing sites and cover more ground than a campaign of isolated sorties. Engaging international teammates shifted the discussion from who would provide the single robot, to which combination of robots is best, and built momentum for precursors and more sustainable ideas like a relocating convoy.
Development and Field Test
Development of the RAPID system was initiated by the Human-Robotic Systems Project within NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate’s Exploration Technology Development and Demonstration Program’s (ETDDP) Foundational Element. RAPID development receives additional support from the Human Exploration Telerobotics Project within ETDDP’s Demonstration Element.
A precursor to the current RAPID system was field-tested in FY2007, and the current RAPID system has been field-tested yearly since FY2008. The RAPID team participates in the Desert Research and Technology Studies (D-RATS) field tests (pictured), generally held in late summer in the high desert of Arizona.
The RAPID ecosystem now includes participation from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Johnson Space Center, Ames Research Center, Glenn Research Center, and Langley Research Center. We hope to expand NASA participation to the Kennedy Space Center in FY2012. RAPID robots include JPL’s ATHLETE, JSC’s SEV, Centaur 2, and Robonaut 2, ARC’s K10, and LaRC’s LSMS Crane.
International Participation and Collaboration
The RAPID system began to attract international interest at the Advanced ISS Telerobotics and Communication Technical Interchange Meeting at ESTEC (Noordwijk, The Netherlands, 5-6 October 2010). During that meeting, high-level representatives of NASA, ESA and CSA recognized the need to identify common interfaces to support the development and demonstration of the advanced technologies needed for future crewed space exploration. Within NASA there are numerous planned near-term demonstrations of critical capabilities to enable human deep-space exploration. The demonstrations will use a wide range of platforms and venues, including analog field tests, the ISS, Flagship flight experiments, and robotic precursor missions. There are many opportunities for international collaboration in this bold new exploration program, and NASA is seeking partners. The RAPID system has been identified as one technology with the capability of enabling the collaboration necessary to achieve these shared mission goals.
The RAPID team hopes to contribute to the CCSDS Telerobotics Working Group process by sharing their collaborative supervisory field robotics experience in discovery, robot command, telemetry, and configuration control (outlined in red). The RAPID ecosystem includes a broad range of mission planning, execution and monitoring tools not described in this document. These tools occupy the area outlined in green, but are not part of the RAPID system. Organizations that participate in the RAPID project are free to adapt their own tools to use the RAPID message and service system; they may also choose to share their tools with other members of the RAPID ecosystem if such sharing serves their interests. There is no requirement that RAPID members share their RAPID-adapted proprietary intellectual property.
RAPID has been released under the NASA Open Source Agreement, is currently hosted as the Robot API Delegate project at SourceForge, and is mirrored at
About the RAPID Project at SourceForge
The RAPID project maintains an open source project home at SourceForge, where the project is known as the Robot API Delegate project – the name RAPID was already taken. There are two main web portals to the RAPID project at SourceForge. The Web Services Portal at whose content is defined by the RAPID project, and the SourceForge Project Portal at, whose interface is determined by SourceForge. Developers interested in RAPID will find both portals to be of use.
You can download RAPID-related files from the Files section of the RAPID SourceForge Project Portal. You'll also find additional project summary and detailed information at the RAPID SourceForge Project Portal. If you will be developing applications based on RAPID, instructions for obtaining RAPID source code are found in the Develop section of the RAPID SourceForge Project Portal.
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