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Astrobee Team Conducts First Smartphone Video Guidance System and Astrobatics Activities
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Astrobee Team Conducts First Smartphone Video Guidance System and Astrobatics Activities

On February 16th, 2022 the first Astrobee Smartphone Video Guidance System (SVGS) on-orbit activity took place. There were five runs that included two different maneuvers: single target fixed and single target error maneuvers. The SVGS Mission Android Package Kit (APK) started/stopped nominally as well as the creation of log files, however a constant behavior from the APK was observed: the robot was positioned facing the target (x,y,z: 5.03), at the start of each maneuver the robot moved upwards to a z: 4.69. At this position it is believed the Scicam was not able to correctly detect the Blue target LEDs and that stopped the overall maneuver. Therefore, a completion of a full SVGS maneuver was not possible. After modifications to the APK are introduced, these maneuvers will be re-attempted in the next SVGS-2 activity.

On February 28th, 2022, the Astrobatics 3B on-orbit activity took place. This Astrobatics activity focused on a primary Astrobee unit tossing itself from a secondary unit with an attached handrail. The four cases, A - C, varied the perching arm proximal joint angle at release. Case D utilized active propulsion for stopping after the tossing. All primary and secondary objectives were achieved. Altogether, 18 data runs were completed, including 7 Case A’s (two with errors), 4 Case B’s (one command fail), 4 Case C’s (one localization issue), and 3 Case D’s. The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Space Robotics Laboratory will analyze the recorded data and use the results to prepare plans for Astrobatics 4 and 5.

BACKGROUND: The Astrobees are next-generation free-flying robots that operate in the interior of the International Space Station (ISS) and can be remotely operated by astronauts in space, or by mission controllers on the ground. Their primary purpose is to provide a flexible platform for research on zero-gravity free-flying robotics, with the ability to carry a wide variety of future research payloads and guest science software. They were also designed to perform a number of Intra-Vehicular Activities (IVAs), including interior environmental surveys (e.g., sound level measurement), inventory, and mobile camera work.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: The Astrobee Facility project is funded by the ISS program’s Research Integration Office.

TEAM: The Astrobee team is composed of over 30 researchers, engineers, and technicians from the Intelligent Systems Division and the Engineering Directorate at NASA Ames Research Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

POINT OF CONTACT: Jose Benavides, jose.v.benavides@nasa.gov

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