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 ")

Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.' - Ray Bradbury, 1950.

SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels
'The window cleaners, with large padded feet...' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1972.

How Rude! DARPA Wants Robots To Behave More Like Threepio
'Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function.' - George Lucas, 1976.

Buddy Companion Robot Your Bulbous Friend
'Nanny was built in the shape of a sphere, a large metal sphere, flattened on the bottom...' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.

 

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

TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...'

Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.'

SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels
'The window cleaners, with large padded feet...'

Pangorin Restaurant Service Robots
What'll you have? Jawa juice?

Drug Creates Real Melanin Tan
I've used them all my life...

Medical Drones Hover Like Angels Near You
'The death-reversal equipment is on its way...'

SkEye Amazing Israeli Gigapixel Drone
'An eye that could not only see, but fly...'

How Rude! DARPA Wants Robots To Behave More Like Threepio
'Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function.'

'Liquid Light' Flows Around Corners
Light as a superfluid.

Unrolling The Filmy Materials Of Space Tech
'When unfolded and unrolled... it became a tough, gleaming film.'

Buddy Companion Robot Your Bulbous Friend
'Nanny was built in the shape of a sphere, a large metal sphere, flattened on the bottom...'

Poli-X1 Prototype Bee Pollinator
Is there anything drones can't do?

Bake in Space Bake-Off... In Space!
'A joyous condition commenced for the cook in the electric kitchen...'

DeepMind AI Baffled By Homer Simpson, Needs Human Help
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off...'

Does Earth's Middle Mantle Hold Oceans Of Water?
Al Gore, you have no idea.

Vaccine Blocks Heroin High
'You're biochemically incapable of getting off...'

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.