IEEE has posted a piece entitled, “Robots Aboard the International Space Station” on their blog on automation. The story features the Human Exploration Telerobotics overview video put together by Ames Research Center, Johnson Space Center, and MIT highlighting the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES), and Robonaut 2, the humanoid robot. You can read the blog and watch the video here.
BACKGROUND: Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) are bowling-ball sized spherical satellites. They are used inside the space station to test a set of well-defined instructions for spacecraft performing autonomous rendezvous and docking maneuvers. Three free-flying spheres fly within the cabin of the Space Station, performing flight formations. Each satellite is self-contained with power, propulsion, computers and navigation equipment. The results are important for satellite servicing, vehicle assembly, and formation flying spacecraft configurations.
Robonaut 2 is the first humanoid robot ever to fly in space. It was built by NASA as part of a joint project with General Motors. The goal is to build a robot helper suitable to assist humans in complex tasks, in both space and on Earth.
Contact: Terry Fong