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Remember the pressurized repair / assembly pods from 2001 A Space Odyssey and so many other space visionary works? Has there been any programs to design & build tiny vehicles like that with manipulator arms, for space stations or construction in space?

EVA pod

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  • $\begingroup$ Pressurized? That implies you mean manned vehicles? $\endgroup$ – Hobbes Oct 9 '16 at 14:26
  • $\begingroup$ Yes manned. Maybe some free flying robot systems would be interesting too, but I am mostly interested if any space program or industry took the idea further. $\endgroup$ – Johnny Robinson Oct 11 '16 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ Currently, in the age of drones, unmanned remote-controlled "helper robots" are far more viable and practical. Adding a small spacecraft around the astronaut gives very small benefits over an EVA suit, while seriously increasing mass and cost. $\endgroup$ – SF. Jan 4 '17 at 7:38
  • $\begingroup$ Von Braun's "bottle suit" from the fifties? picture $\endgroup$ – JCRM Aug 20 '19 at 13:33
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There has been at least one semi-recent (2012) paper on the topic. The design is called the Flexcraft. There is a wikipedia article here.

enter image description here

It appears to be purely in the proposal stage.

The concept was more common in the '50s and '60s. You can see a lot of concept art at the wonderful Atomic Rockets page (search the page for "A space pod is a small pressurized vehicle" - the page is gigantic).

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    $\begingroup$ This is great. It seem as though it is being considered for the deep space missions to asteroids and such. They make a very good point that if there is an emergency or other urgent need you can't just jump in a space suit because you need decompression time. For this you don't. In spit of robots it still makes a lot of sense. $\endgroup$ – Johnny Robinson Jan 12 '17 at 23:43

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