Skip to comments.Here’s Looking at You! Astrobee’s First Robot Completes Initial Hardware Checks in Space
Posted on 05/20/2019 11:35:37 AM PDT by BenLurkin
NASA astronaut Anne McClain performs the first series of tests of an Astrobee robot, Bumble, during a hardware checkout. To her right is the docking station that was installed in the Kibo module on the International Space Station on Feb. 15. Bumble, and another robot named Honey, launched to the space station on Apr. 17, aboard Northrop Grummans eleventh commercial resupply services mission from NASAs Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. When needed the robots will be able to return to their docking station on their own and recharge their battery power.
Astrobee is a free-flying robot system that will provide a research platform for the orbiting laboratory. The system includes three robots as well as a docking station for recharging. Robots will play a significant part in the agencys mission to return to the Moon as well as other deep space missions. Astrobee will be used to test how robots can assist crew and perform caretaking duties on spacecraft. This will increase astronaut productivity and help maintain spacecraft when astronauts are not present near the Moon, Mars or other deep-space outposts.
What is Astrobee?
NASA has developed three new robotic teammates to work alongside astronauts on the International Space Station as they help to advance research.
It turns out that astronauts could use some help with their chores, just like many of us on Earth. Juggling priorities and schedules plays a big part in an astronauts life aboard the International Space Station, and teams of flight controllers on the ground are constantly working to optimize the precious human work hours in space. Getting some assistance from robots that can take on some tasks will make work on the station more efficient.
Astrobee, NASAs new free-flying robotic system, will help astronauts reduce time they spend on routine duties, leaving them to focus more on the things that only humans can do. Working autonomously or via remote control by astronauts, flight controllers or researchers on the ground, the robots are designed to complete tasks such as taking inventory, documenting experiments conducted by astronauts with their built-in cameras or working together to move cargo throughout the station. In addition, the system serves as a research platform that can be outfitted and programmed to carry out experiments in microgravity - helping us to learn more about how robotics can benefit astronauts in space.
The Astrobee system consists of three cubed-shaped robots, software and a docking station used for recharging. The robots use electric fans as a propulsion system that allows them to fly freely through the microgravity environment of the station. Cameras and sensors help them to see and navigate their surroundings. The robots also carry a perching arm that allows them to grasp station handrails in order to conserve energy or to grab and hold items.
Astrobee builds on the legacy and lessons learned from the SPHERES robots short for Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellite which have been aboard the station for over a decade. Once the Astrobee system has been fully commissioned, it will take over for SPHERES as the space stations robotic test facility, helping us to learn new capabilities in our journey to explore space.
Guest scientists will be able to use Astrobee to carry out investigations that will help to develop technology both hardware and software for future missions. Since the robots are modular and can be upgraded, the system gives researchers and scientists diverse capabilities for performing a wide range of experiments inside the station.
Robots will play a significant part in the agencys mission to return to the Moon as well as other deep space missions. Robots such as Astrobee, have the capacity to become caretakers for future spacecraft, working to monitor and keep systems operating smoothly while crew are away.
I hope it keeps working.
Where’s Dr. Smith?
Warning Will Robinson!!!
Disney might try to sue.
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