Research Fund of China Manned Space Engineering 
; Chinese Academy of Sciences [Y4A3210301]
; National Science Foundation of China [51175494, 61128008, 51575412]
; State Key Laboratory of Robotics Foundation
Human-robot interaction (HRI) plays an important role in future planetary exploration mission, where astronauts with extravehicular activities (EVA) have to communicate with robot assistants by speech-type or gesture-type user interfaces embedded in their space suits. This paper presents an interactive astronaut-robot system integrating a data-glove with a space suit for the astronaut to use hand gestures to control a snake-like robot. Support vector machine (SVM) is employed to recognize hand gestures and particle swarm optimization (PSO) algorithm is used to optimize the parameters of SVM to further improve its recognition accuracy. Various hand gestures from American Sign Language (ASL) have been selected and used to test and validate the performance of the proposed system.