In news– For the first time ever, two Astro-bees have begun working independently, side by side with humans on the International Space Station(ISS).
What are Astro Bees?
- Astro Bees are NASA’s new cube-shaped free-flying robotic system. These robots are cube-shaped and about 32 centimetres wide.
- The three Astrobee robots, named Queen, Bumble and Honey propel themselves around in the microgravity environment of the ISS using electric fans.
- The three robots propel themselves using electric fans that allow them to fly through the microgravity environment of the International Space Station.
- They “look around” and navigate their surroundings using cameras and sensors.
- All of the robots are equipped with a perching arm that allows them to grasp handrails to either conserve energy or grab and hold items.
- When they are running low on charge, they can automatically return to their docking station to begin recharging.
- Not only will the Astrobee robots make space missions safer and more cost-effective but Astrobees could manage routine chores that would free up human operators for more complex work.
- They also consist of a system that serves as a research platform that can be outfitted and programmed to conduct microgravity experiments.
- Until now, Astrobee robots have operated on the International Space Station one at a time or with support from human operators.
- The Astrobee robots are built on the knowledge acquired from operating SPHERES (Synchronised Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellite) robots which have been operating on the International Space Station for over a decade.
- Once fully commissioned, the Astrobee system will take over for SPHERES as the space station’s robotic test facility.
- Astrobee robots could be instrumental in future spacecraft that won’t be crewed year-round like the Gateway space station planned to orbit the Moon.
- Such spacecraft will need autonomous robots to keep things running while humans are away.