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 | | 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 ")

Confirm 100 Exoplanets At Once! (With Video)
'My automatic astronomical instruments searching for a habitable planet.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1936.

Blue Origin Tests 'Escape Pod' Capability
'I'm going to regret this...' - George Lucas, 1976.

Space Elevator Planned By Obayashi Corp
'And so to establish an elevator system linking Earth to space?' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1976.

New Laser Space Debris Clearing More Subtle Than Clarke's
Rather than nudge them up, nudge them down.



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

Transparent OLED TV By Panasonic
It's the look of things to come.

Shape-Memory Metal Transforms Millions Of Times
'Annealed in any shape for a time, and codified, the structure of that shape is retained down to the molecules.'

Advertising Drones Hover Over Traffic In Mexico
'Blurbflies are allowd to travel the streets, buzzing their adverts alive and direct...'

How Can Amazon Patent A Voice-Controlled Drone?
''Tight mid-shot...' he told it.'

'North Sense' Wearable Piercing From Cyborg Nest
'The fingers opened from the many-scaled stellarimeter grafted onto his palm.'

proCover Smart Sock Prosthetic Limb Enhancement
'Series of chemelectric afferent nerve-analogues, which permitted it to gauge to an ounce...'

Robots And AIs Will Replace Humans At 7 Percent Of U.S. Jobs
'And Mike took on endless new jobs.'

Human Doctors Still Better Than Computers
'Nowadays surgery was normally done by autodocs...'

FEDOR Humanoid Robot To Join Russians In Space
Am enjoying view of Russian robot.

BMW Self-Balancing Motorcycle - Never Put Feet On Road
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems...'

MicroTug Is A Micro Robot Beast
'And it had been dragging something...'

Linear Elastic Actuator in Parallel (LEAP) - It's A Hopping Robot
'...Probably the most grotesque forms of transportation ever invented.'

Smart Glove Controls 3D Printed Robotic Arm (Waldo!)
'Waldo flexed and extended his fingers gently; the... waldoes... followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.'

Wearables For Animals Totally A Thing
'Twin deformities on either side of his skull had been engineered to house sensor units.'

Tomatoes From Sun And Seawater
'Hydroponics. Gotta almost do it, if I'm going way out to Mars without much supplies.'

Hadrian X Construction Robot From Fastbrick Robotics
Hope Hadrian is never a runaway!

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.