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NASA Successfully Tests Smart SPHERES

by Kenny Hoeschen

Late last year, a free-flying robot on the International Space Station successfully gathered and delivered motion data to its astronaut handler via a new smartphone controller. Each volleyball-sized Smart Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient Experimental Satellites (or “SPHERE”) contains its own onboard power, propulsion, computing and navigational software along with an Android-based smartphone. The ongoing experiment demonstrates how the Smart SPHERES can serve as remotely operated assistants for astronauts in space, performing surveys for environmental monitoring, inspections and other routine housekeeping tasks.

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