Mini AERCam Robotic Space Vehicle

NASA is developing the Mini AERCam free-flying robotic inspection vehicle for remote viewing and inspection on future human spaceflight missions. The nanosatellite-class spherical Mini AERCam (Miniature Autonomous Extravehicular Robotic Camera) is just 7.5 inches in diameter and weighs approximately 10 pounds.


(Mini-AERCam)

The Mini-AERCam has impressive specs:

  • Power and propulsion
    The vehicle is designed with a central ring that houses the power and propulsion system. Batteries are lithium-ion with six hours of operational time. The propulsion system is designed for cold-gas xenon, which packs more densely than nitrogen, but is compatible with low-cost nitrogen in the current ground test configuration. Attitude and position control are achieved with the use of twelve thrusters, distributed across four thruster pods around the central ring. The batteries are rechargeable and a port is provided for refueling.
  • Navigation
    The Mini AERCam navigation system includes a GPS receiver for position and velocity determination, and Draper Micro-Electro- Mechanical System (MEMS) gyros for angular rate sensing.
  • Cameras
    Two cameras are aligned with the +X direction of the vehicle. One camera provides NTSC-quality color video, and the other camera can be used for high-resolution still images, when selected. A third color video camera is positioned in the +Y direction for an orthogonal view.
  • Interfaces
    The vehicle is designed for either remotely piloted operations or supervised autonomous operations. A set of rotational and translational hand controllers are used to operate the vehicle manually. The operator may also input commands through the Control Station, which also displays system status and engineering data. Multiple Mini AERCam camera views are available to the operator.

(Mini-AERCam Exploded View)

Not to be outdone, Lucasfilms has done its best to create autonomous weaponized nanosatellites. The buzz droid from Revenge of the Sith has the following characteristics:

An insidious weapon unveiled by the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the later stages of the Clone Wars, buzz droids are tenacious saboteurs launched onto enemy starfighters via specialized missiles. When the missile achieves an optimum proximity to its target, it fragments to unleash a cloud of melon-sized metal spheres into the target's flight path. The spheres attach themselves to a target vessel, popping open to reveal an insect-like droid equipped with cutters and other tools of vandalism...


(From Star Wars Buzz Droid)

Read more about nanosatellite projects at Personal Satellite Assistant: Servant Of Astronauts And Jedi and SPHERES - Mini Satellites Fly In Formation. Read more about the Mini AERCam (pdf) and visit the Mini AERCam website. Buzz droids can be seen at a theater near you.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/17/2005)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

China Building Robot Wives
'Want a life-companion, a pleasant one?' - Alice W. Fuller, 1895.

Stan, Robot Valet, Will Drag Your Car Away
'He activated the grapple tracks. ' - Frank Herbert, 1977.

Jibo Home Robot Says Goodbye, Is Killswitched
'It resembles an oyster....' Philip K. Dick, 1968.

I Can't Resist Worm Robots
'Seen close it was not completely flexible...' - Harry Harrison, 1962.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Unfurl The Future! Huawei Mate X versus Galaxy Fold
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently from the top of the unit and immediately grew rigid.'

Amazon Echo And Google Home Should Have Morality Software
'The Dwoskin Morality Rating-Computer could 'spot the slightest tendency to deviation' from the social norm...'

China Building Robot Wives
'Want a life-companion, a pleasant one?'

China Social Credit System Like State-Run Whuffie
'At least there was no mandatory Whuffie check on the monorail platform...'

Project Soli Radar Gesture Chip Now FCC Approved
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'

Stan, Robot Valet, Will Drag Your Car Away
'He activated the grapple tracks. '

Jibo Home Robot Says Goodbye, Is Killswitched
'It resembles an oyster....'

Johns Hopkins Says Asteroid Deflection Will Be Difficult
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...'

Fabric Automatically Cools Or Insulates Based On Environment
'...a high-efficiency filter and heat-exchange system.'

Deepfakes From OpenAI GPT-2 Algorithm
'How can you compete with an IBM heavy-duty logomatic analogue?'

John Deere Self-Driving Tractor
'The huge plow... seemed to shake itself - and began to move back southward.'

North Focals Smart Glasses Provide Augmented Reality In Style
'The world ... is drenched in unfamiliar information all the way to the horizon.'

Tesla Driver Caught Napping Behind The Wheel
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'

Hayabusa 2 To Begin Asteroid Mining
'We must dig down, and then doubtless we shall find the metal.'

Ionocraft Drone Powered By Electrohydrodynamic Thrust
'He saw one hiss by him as he rounded the corner, trailing a short whip antenna...'

Purdue Pharma Ready To Profit From OxyContin Use Or Addiction Recovery
'It may be organic damage. It may be permanent. Time'll tell, and only after you are off Substance D for a long while.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.