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Successful Test of SPHERES With Smartphone Controller Onboard the ISS

On November 1, 2011 a successful test was conducted onboard the International Space Station (ISS) of the new Smartphone Controller for the “Synchronized Position, Hold, Engage, and Reorient Experimental Satellites” (SPHERES) free flier robots. This first test gathered camera and sensor data from the smartphone while mounted on the SPHERES platform during a series of motion sequences. The gathered telemetry will be used in designing advanced telerobotic applications using the smartphone controller. At the end of the session, Astronaut Mike Fossum turned to the camera and began talking (completely unprompted) about how useful a device like the Smartphone and SPHERES would be for doing routine inspections and other tasks on the ISS.

BACKGROUND: The Human Exploration Telerobotics (HET) SPHERES project is a three-year payload experiment project that will use the existing SPHERES mobility base and a smartphone controller to demonstrate the utility of a ground-controllable free-flying robot that can assist crew and ground control in ISS ops, and to explore the system architecture required to support such activities.

TEAM MEMBERS: Dawn Wheeler, Mark Micire, Chris Provencher, Eric Park, Vinh To, Ted Morse

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Human Exploration Telerobotics (HET)

Contact: Vytas Sunspiral

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