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The process of designing control systems for devices operating in microgravity, on-orbit environment, requires testing to verify the effectiveness and characteristics of the algorithms. The key issue is to design a relevant environment in terrestrial conditions that affects both the linear and angular three-dimensional motion of a rigid body. This paper contains a description of the mechanical aspects of two test beds used to evaluate control algorithms planned for use in a space manipulator. Two solutions are presented: (i) a planar manipulator with a free base placed on an air-bearing table; and (ii) a test bed with a 7-DOF manipulator fixed through a force-torque measurement system to the base.
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