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Intelligent Robotics Group Performs Smartphone Test Onboard ISS

On July 2, 2012, the Intelligent Robotics Group (IRG) conducted a successful communication test between the Mission Control Center (MCC) and a smartphone onboard the International Space Station (ISS). The test involved downlinking video from the smartphone over the ISS wireless network to the Synchronized Position, Hold, Engage, and Reorient Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) Smartphone Workbench at the MCC. The communication link implemented the Robot Application Programming Interface Delegate (RAPID) Data Distribution Service (DDS) and Delay Tolerant Networking (DTN) over Ku-Band. The test also involved sending “echo” commands from the SPHERES-Smartphone Workbench to the ISS, which returned acknowledgements back to the MCC. The test concluded after ten minutes of successful video downlink and eleven echo commands. Astronaut Joe Acaba performed the steps of the smartphone testing onboard the ISS.

BACKGROUND: The Human Exploration Telerobotics (HET) project is using the existing SPHERES and smartphone controller to demonstrate the utility of a teleoperated free-flyer robot to assist crew and ground controllers in ISS operations, and to explore the system architecture required to support such activities. The smartphone (a Nexus S with an Android operating system) acts as an embedded computing platform and integrated sensor package since it has gyros (position), accelerometers (movement), magnetometers (compass), cameras, microphones, and Wi-Fi. For future HET demonstrations, the smartphone will be connected to the SPHERES through a communication cable. Crew and/or ground controllers will remotely operate the integrated SPHERES-smartphone to perform such tasks as visual inspections, surveys, crew interviews, and mobile sensor readings, e.g., radio frequency identification (RFID) and noise dosimeter.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) - Technology Demonstration Missions (TDM) - Human Exploration Telerobotics (HET) project

TEAM: Maria Bualat, Terry Fong, Linda Kobayashi, Mark Micire, Ted Morse, Chris Provencher, Ernie Smith (JSC), Vinh To, Jay Torres (JPL), Hans Utz, and DW Wheeler

COLLABORATORS: Aric Katterhagen, Andres Martinez, Steve Ormsby, and Adam Schlesinger (JSC)

Contact: Chris Provencher

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