NASA's First Astrobee Robot Takes its Debut Flight In Space


NASA's first of its kind Astrobee robot called Bumble became the first to fly using its own power. The robot is built to help scientists test new technlogies in zero gravity condition and carry out routine work with astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

NASA's First Astrobee Robot Takes its Debut Flight In Space


The robot will allow astronauts to focus on non-routine tasks. Commenting on its utility, Maria Bualat, Astrobee project manager, Ames Research Center, said: "The main purpose of the Astrobee platform is to provide a zero-gravity testbed for guest scientists to try out new robotic technologies in space."

According to a report from Space Daily, these robots can be useful for NASA's lunar gateway in the future as they are capable of operating on their own. Like all other Astrobees, Bumble can also move in all directions in space. However, it has only been tested for basic commands such as "move 11.8 inches forward" or "rotate 45 degrees" and other movements are yet to be tested.

The Astrobee team has confirmed that Bumble could navigate inside the space station and find its position before its maiden flight. Astrobee's navigation system uses a camera to identify the bot's surroundings. The images taken by the camera is then compared to a pre-installed map of the ISS to gauge its position.

As of now, there are two Astrobee robots into the space station, namely Bumble and Honey. The team is planning to launch another bot called 'Queen' next month.

Astrobee is a free-flying robot system that will provide a research platform for the International Space Station. The system includes three robots and a docking station for the bots to refuel. These robots will come in handy during the space agency's lunar missions and other deep space missions.

Besides, NASA has shortlisted 11 firms including Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin to build prototypes of human landers for its Artemis lunar exploration mission. The space agency aims to put the first woman on the Moon's south pole by 2024 and continue with more advanced missions in 2028.

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