ISS Smart SPHERES Operated By Remote Control From Earth

NASA engineers have been playing with the idea of having remote-controlled "UAVs" flying around in the interior of the International Space Station. Their effort to control the little remotes from Houston was a success!


(Smart SPHERES remote control center on Earth)

The Smart SPHERES, located in the Kibo laboratory module, were remotely operated from the International Space Station's Mission Control Center at Johnson to demonstrate how a free-flying robot can perform surveys for environmental monitoring, inspection and other routine housekeeping tasks.

In the future, small robots could regularly perform routine maintenance tasks allowing astronauts to spend more time working on science experiments. In the long run, free-flying robots like Smart SPHERES also could be used to inspect the exterior of the space station or future deep-space vehicles.

The SPHERES are basketball-sized free-flying satellites that have been on the space station since 2006 and were originally developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and NASA Small Business Innovation Research funding. Project engineers equipped the SPHERES with a Google Nexus S and software to transform them into Smart SPHERES: remotely operated robots equipped with cameras, accelerometers, wireless and high-performance embedded computing. The test fully completed all nine test objectives and met all success criteria.

This experiment is supported by the Human Exploration Telerobotics project Technology Demonstration Missions Program in the Space Technology Program of the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

In 1999, MIT engineering Professor David Miller showed the movie Star Wars on the first day of class. During the scene where Luke Skywalker practices his light saber against a seeker remote, Miller stood up and said "I want you to build me some of those."


(Luke practices with seeker remote)

This dream became reality in May of 2006, when the SPHERES mini-satellites first flew in the ISS.

I've been reporting on the SPHERES project since 2004; see this early article which shows off the team responsible - SPHERES - Mini Satellites Fly In Formation

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/11/2013)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

When Will We See The First Space Hotel?
'The heart of it was a vast hexagonal structure of welded metal, ten miles across...' - Jack Williamson, 1939.

SpaceX Starhopper Has Flash Gordon Style
SpaceX makes retro cool spacecraft.

A Floating Cosmodrome
'...a single perfectly level platform, which rose so high above the water that it was not splashed by the waves.' - Otfrid von Hanstein, 1930.

Space-Based Solar Power Roundup
Who first thought about this concept?

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Entire Planet Modeled In New MS Flight Sim
'CIC uses [it] to keep track of every bit of spatial information that it owns...'

FlyZoo Robot Hotel By Alibaba
'... hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Implanted Memories Provide Songs To Birds
Finches can't tell the difference.

Robot Tuna Swims As Fast As Nature's Tuna
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'

Shapeshifter Robot Is Comprised Of Cobots
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed. For an interval, the device struggled with itself...'

Google Commits To Fighting Deepfakes
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'

China Accused Of Harvesting Organs From Unwanted Groups
'The death penalty was his immortality, and he would vote the death penalty for any crime at all.'

Osmiridium Sounds Like Science Fiction (But It's Not!)
I can't resist science-fictional elements. Especially when they're real.

When Will We See The First Space Hotel?
'The heart of it was a vast hexagonal structure of welded metal, ten miles across...'

SpaceX Starhopper Has Flash Gordon Style
SpaceX makes retro cool spacecraft.

Mindar The Robot Buddhist Priest Offers A Blessing
'Not working is the hardest work of all.'

Does Your Company Need A 'Chief Dreamer'?
As far as the future is concerned 'they're the only experts we have'.

Helios Modular Touch Screen Wall Lights
'The walls and ceiling bore an irregular spacing of illuminum tiles...'

Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'

Robot Hummingbird Hovers Biomimetically
'With a buzz... it started out on its journey.'

Harvest Water From Air With Sunlight
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.