News ID: 253082
Published: 1052 GMT May 20, 2019

NASA's new flying robot gets first hardware check in space

NASA's new flying robot gets first hardware check in space

Astronaut Anne McClain checks Astrobee.

NASA's new robot is getting ready for work.

Astrobee, a free-flying robot system that is designed to give astronauts a hand in space, has had its first hardware checks on the International Space Station (ISS).

The system is actually a trio of robots, named Honey, Queen, and Bumble, which are propelled by electric fans and can return to their docking station to recharge their batteries, reported.

Two of the robots, Bumble and Honey, were launched to the space station on April 17.

NASA posted a photo of astronaut Anne McClain, who performed the first series of tests on Astrobee, which included checking the robot's avionics, cameras, propulsion, and docking for power and data transfer.

Astrobee is a test to see how robots can take care of spacecraft when astronauts are away, which NASA explained will be crucial for deep-space missions, such as its plan to return to the Moon.

The robots feature cameras, microphones, and other sensors to help operators on the ground to monitor conditions.

They can fly independently, or be controlled, allowing astronauts to concentrate on more important tasks. The robots are modular too, which means more features can be added when needed.

It'll be a little while until the system gets to work, with more tests to run until its project commissioning date sometime around October or November.

Researchers are also planning more complex experiments, including carrying payloads, which will begin in 2020.




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