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Astrobee Project to Hold Technical Interchange Meeting With Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
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Astrobee Project to Hold Technical Interchange Meeting With Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Astrobee project will hold a Technical Interchange Meeting (TIM) with the Japanese Aerospace EXploration Agency (JAXA) on August 11th, 2017. The meeting will focus on collaboration opportunities with the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) Internal Ball Camera (Int-Ball), the free-flying camera drone built by JAXA. The teams will look at sharing resources to render a 3D model of the module interior, visual feature maps, WiFi maps, visual marker tags, collaborating on an external localization system, future collaboration opportunities, and there will be an opportunity for JAXA guest scientists interested in taking advantage of Astrobee’s research platform. The location of Astrobee’s docking station within JEM on the International Space Station (ISS) will also be looked at.

BACKGROUND: Astrobee will be a free-flying robot on the ISS that can be remotely operated by astronauts in space, or by mission controllers on the ground. Astrobee is being developed to perform a variety of Intra-Vehicular Activities (IVAs). These IVA tasks include interior environmental surveys (e.g., sound level measurement), inventory, and mobile camera work. Astrobee will also serve as a platform for robotics research in microgravity.

Int-Ball is a bit larger than a softball, can float and maneuver by itself or be controlled remotely, and takes high-resolution images and videos. Int-Ball was delivered to the ISS in early June of 2017 and, similar to Astrobee, is designed to allow ground control to increase the monitoring of ISS equipment and activities while decreasing time demands on human astronauts. Int-Ball moves by turning on small internal fans and sees with a camera located between its two dark eyes.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Game Changing Development (GCD) program, Space Technology Missions Directorate (STMD)


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