Mini AERCam Robotic Space Vehicle

NASA is developing the Mini AERCam free-flying robotic inspection vehicle for remote viewing and inspection on future human spaceflight missions. The nanosatellite-class spherical Mini AERCam (Miniature Autonomous Extravehicular Robotic Camera) is just 7.5 inches in diameter and weighs approximately 10 pounds.


(Mini-AERCam)

The Mini-AERCam has impressive specs:

  • Power and propulsion
    The vehicle is designed with a central ring that houses the power and propulsion system. Batteries are lithium-ion with six hours of operational time. The propulsion system is designed for cold-gas xenon, which packs more densely than nitrogen, but is compatible with low-cost nitrogen in the current ground test configuration. Attitude and position control are achieved with the use of twelve thrusters, distributed across four thruster pods around the central ring. The batteries are rechargeable and a port is provided for refueling.
  • Navigation
    The Mini AERCam navigation system includes a GPS receiver for position and velocity determination, and Draper Micro-Electro- Mechanical System (MEMS) gyros for angular rate sensing.
  • Cameras
    Two cameras are aligned with the +X direction of the vehicle. One camera provides NTSC-quality color video, and the other camera can be used for high-resolution still images, when selected. A third color video camera is positioned in the +Y direction for an orthogonal view.
  • Interfaces
    The vehicle is designed for either remotely piloted operations or supervised autonomous operations. A set of rotational and translational hand controllers are used to operate the vehicle manually. The operator may also input commands through the Control Station, which also displays system status and engineering data. Multiple Mini AERCam camera views are available to the operator.

(Mini-AERCam Exploded View)

Not to be outdone, Lucasfilms has done its best to create autonomous weaponized nanosatellites. The buzz droid from Revenge of the Sith has the following characteristics:

An insidious weapon unveiled by the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the later stages of the Clone Wars, buzz droids are tenacious saboteurs launched onto enemy starfighters via specialized missiles. When the missile achieves an optimum proximity to its target, it fragments to unleash a cloud of melon-sized metal spheres into the target's flight path. The spheres attach themselves to a target vessel, popping open to reveal an insect-like droid equipped with cutters and other tools of vandalism...


(From Star Wars Buzz Droid)

Read more about nanosatellite projects at Personal Satellite Assistant: Servant Of Astronauts And Jedi and SPHERES - Mini Satellites Fly In Formation. Read more about the Mini AERCam (pdf) and visit the Mini AERCam website. Buzz droids can be seen at a theater near you.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/17/2005)

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 ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Tesla Will Have Metal Gear Snake Autocoupler, Musk Confirms
'Its motion was so swift, complex, and perfect that at first I did not see it as a machine, in spite of its metallic glitter.' - HG Wells, 1898.

I Love Ceiling-Mounted Robots
'Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling...' - EM Forster, 1911.

Salto Jumping Robot Now Sticks Landing!
'Lucky touched the leap knob and the hopper's leg retracted.' - Isaac Asimov, 1954.

It's Time For Robots With Soft, Sensitive Skin
Sure, solid metal skin robots looked great once - like in science fiction movies of the 1920's.

 

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

Tesla Will Have Metal Gear Snake Autocoupler, Musk Confirms
'Its motion was so swift, complex, and perfect that at first I did not see it as a machine, in spite of its metallic glitter.'

Starlink Satellites Leading Edge On-Orbit Debris Mitigation
Propulsion-assisted orbital decay, brought to you by SpaceX.

Healight Ultraviolet Endotracheal Device Has Covid-19 Treatment Potential
'He applied the tip of the instrument to the interior of the wound...'

Parents Use AI To See One Last Message From Their Deceased Son
'...what's to keep me from showing face, Man?'

Satoshi Tomizu Creates Pocket Universes And Worldcraft Bubbles In Glass
'The Worldcraft bubble glittered, catching the light...'

Space Hero Inc. Offers Trip To ISS As Reality Show Prize
'This is Elmer Schmitz, presenting to you the finalists in our Aviation Quiz Program...'

I Love Ceiling-Mounted Robots
'Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling...'

Armano Remote Control Excavator
'The bulldozer moved through the... mine... '

OK, NASA 3D Printer Of Food Not Yet Star Trek Food Synthesizer
Maybe not, but we're seeing definite progress.

Kelly Clarkson Show Like Black Mirror '15 Million Merits'
'These people are pieces of software called avatars.'

Salto Jumping Robot Now Sticks Landing!
'Lucky touched the leap knob and the hopper's leg retracted.'

Gyroscopic Median-Straddling Mass Transit Vehicles
'It was among these leviathans that the little gyrocar was daring to thrust its puny self...'

Bigrating Laser Beam-Riding Light Sail Is Self-Correcting
'That sail will be twenty thousand miles at the wide part.'

ISS Astronauts Test Estee Lauder 'Advanced Night Repair' Skin Serum
'Out in the New Moon, just ask for what you want...'

LG Wing Twisting Smartphone Might Be Fun
'A polycarbon screen unfurled...'

Mushroom Coffin Returns You To Nature, Naturally
'She touched the leaf. She was wanted.'

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.