In this paper, adaptive control of free-floating space manipulators is considered. The dynamics based on the momentum conservation law for the free-floating space manipulator has non-linear parameterization properties. Therefore, the adaptive control based on a linear parameterization model cannot be used in this dynamics. In this paper, the dynamics of the free-floating space manipulator system are derived using the Dynamically Equivalent Model (DEM) approach. The DEM is a fixed-base manipulator system and allows us to linearly parameterize the dynamic equations. Using this linearly parameterized dynamic equation, an adaptive control method is developed to control the system in joint space. Parameter identification and torque calculations are done using the DEM dynamics. Simulations show that the tracking errors of the manipulator joints to a given desired trajectory become zero when the calculated torques act on the joints of the space manipulator system. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.