January 1, 2018.
Astrobee is a free-flying, 1'x1'x1' cuboid robot that is planned to be onboard the International Space Station (ISS) by February 2019. Astrobee will be the successor of the current ISS free-flyer, SPHERES. Free-flying robots possess a range of potential. They can facilitate work for astronauts aboard the ISS by performing rudimentary tasks and housekeeping (e.g., record-keeping, sensor analysis, etc.) efficiently. Free-flyers also act as innovative testbeds for guest scientists to perform zero-gravity control theory research. In recent years, SPHERES has hosted annual Zero Robotics (ZR) programming competitions in collaboration with MIT, challenging middle and high school students to write code to win an annual game. The ZR program will need to transition from SPHERES to Astrobee soon, beginning with a novel game. The Microbial Tracking Series (MT) focuses on characterizing the ISS atmosphere via microbial sampling. The current Air Sampling Device (ASD) has been used for over a decade and doesn’t collect sufficient biomass. The Astrobee ASD will be designed to assist crew members with the sampling procedure, with the goal of improving upon the past procedure.
Other Engineering | Science and Mathematics Education
NASA Ames Research Center (ARC)
Cal Poly Corporation