Flying robots are widely used in science fiction. However, the force of Earth’s gravity can not support heavy objects on the fly in the conditions of our planet. But in microgravity on the International Space Station, which is located at an altitude of 380 kilometers above the Earth, this problem disappears. NASA already has been testing this floating robot. He was named the Smart sphere and controlled by a smartphone Samsung Nexus.
The space agency does not hide the fact that the source of inspiration for Smart spheres, which has been successfully tested in the past month, is science fiction. "I saw a training device fencing light beam in Star Wars, which was the inspiration for me," - said Yuri Gaudiyak, who is the author of the concept. These free-flying satellites, known as Sphere, equipped with a "brain" in the form of Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which was a slight modification, including the replacement of lithium-ion batteries batteries AA.
These robots will be able to inspect the station for astronauts. Additionally, NASA plans to test fly outside the station. Over time, will be more difficult tests. "The tests that we subject Smart sphere, NASA will make better use of robots as assistants, who will support the people on the Earth’s orbit or during long missions to other worlds," - said Terry Fong, project manager Human Exploration Telerobotics.
Each smartphone is connected to the spheres through the cable. Communication with ground control is carried out via a wireless network connection (Wi-Fi). In the future we plan to expand the range of smart phones used at the station.