Astrobee's First Robot Completes Initial Hardware Checks in Space

21 May, 2019, 13:28 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • NASA Dives Into Habitation Prototypes Testing

NASA points out on its website that robotic assistants can work to improve the space station's efficiency by assistant with some "routine duties" like taking inventory, moving around cargo, and using cameras to document experiments.

The system includes three robots as well as a docking station for recharging.

NASA delivered the Astrobee robots to the ISS on April 17 aboard a Northrop Grumman resupply mission. The robot in the image is called "Bumble" and there are two more of the same design called "Honey" and "Queen". Now the first Astrobee robot has undergone hardware tests to check whether its subsystems, including avionics, cameras, propulsion, and docking for power and data transfer, are working correctly. Robots on Earth rely on wheels, treads, or legs to get around, but none of those are any good in space.

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Astrobee is a free-flying robot system that will provide a research platform for the International Space Station. In its most recent update on the matter, NASA shared an image of the Astrobee robot "Bumble" on the ISS alongside some details about how it and its "Honey" companion are operating.

Astrobee is a test to see how robots can take care of spacecraft when astronauts are away, which NASA explained will be crucial for deep-space missions, such as its plan to return to the moon. Using electric fans as a propelled system, the robots can move freely and also able to return to their docking station on their own to recharge their batteries when required.

They can fly independently, or be controlled, allowing astronauts to concentrate on more important tasks. And hopefully, increase astronaut productivity and help maintain spacecraft when astronauts are not present near the Moon, Mars or other deep-space outposts.

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