Ball-shaped drone with camera for space stations with zer0-gravity

in #space6 years ago

First autonomous drone specially designed for zero-gravity is developed by Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Its name is Internal Ball Camera - in short Int-Ball. Quite "Star Wars"  looking grapefruit-sized sphere was delivered to Japanese segment of the ISS - Module "Kibo"  by the US Dragon spacecraft launched on June 4, 2017, and is currently undergoing initial verification.

Image:   JAXA/NASA 

12 fans positioned near the surface of the drone allow it move inside ISS's modules. The drone is directly controlled by engineers in the control center on Earth. Its main objectives according to JAXA are: 

  • Acquiring the capability to move anywhere at any time via autonomous flight and record images from any angle.
  • Realizing "zero" photographing time by the onboard crew in the end, which amounts to about 10% of their working hours at present.
  • Enabling flight controllers and researchers on the ground to check the crew's work from the same viewpoint as the crew. The effective cooperative work between in space and on the ground will contribute to maximized results of "Kibo" utilization experiments.
  • Striving to further improve Int-Ball's performance, enhance its functions, and promote the automation and autonomy of extra- and intra-vehicular experiments, while seeking to acquire the robotics technology available for future exploration missions.

As written in Japan Times:

After testing is complete, JAXA plans to deliver an mproved drone next year with an automatic power-charging function that it hopes will completely free the crew from its recording duties

This test model is designed for working in the atmosphere only but Jaxa has plans to build drones for external works in vacuum.


OMG is that true! What a great invention! Thank you very much for sharing this amazing news! Really appreciate your effort!


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