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posted by hubie on Thursday August 04, @02:42AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Huey-Dewey-and-Louie dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

NASA's trio of robots known as Astrobee have completed the first phase of a project to test whether an autonomous system can provide spacecraft monitoring, maintenance and incident response.    

[...] NASA has sent up three Astrobee "free flying" robots to the ISS since work started in 2018. Bumble and Honey were launched to the International Space Station (ISS) in April 2019 and Queen left for the ISS in July 2019. They're being used to test autonomous maintenance crews as NASA gears for the Artemis human lunar missions and future missions to Mars.

The latest milestone the project achieved was having two Astrobees — Queen (foreground) and Bumble (background), see below — work independently, alongside astronauts, in separate areas of ISS. (Astronaut Raja Chari is closest to camera and Matthias Maurer is in the background).

Each robot is propelled by electric fans and has a docking station that they can independently return to for a recharge. They also feature a perching arm that can grasp handrails or assist astronauts. And they've given NASA's media team reason to make lots of bee and honey puns. 

The Astrobee was designed to work alongside astronauts, but NASA is also exploring their potential for Artemis on Gateway, a spacecraft that will orbit the Moon and provide an outpost for human lunar missions. Gateway could only be manned for six weeks of a year, leaving extended periods where autonomous maintenance systems could step in. 


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, @02:55AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, @02:55AM (#1264872)

    The robots have to be cute now? Who are the robosexuals at NASA?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, @03:32AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, @03:32AM (#1264876)

      Cute AND plucky.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by DannyB on Thursday August 04, @02:30PM

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 04, @02:30PM (#1264917) Journal

    I guess it is better to not have helicopter blades buzzing in the space station where they could impact someone or something. Cables. Other delicate things.

    The internal fans of these cute robots seem to be small helicopter blades shielded within the robot enclosure.

    If these robots do a good job inside the space station, I can't wait to see how helpful they will be on EVAs outside the space station.

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