NASA turns to public to design arm for ISS flying robot

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Washington, Jan 20: NASA has sought submissions from the public in a new design competition that aims to add a robotic arm to its "free-flying robot" that will patrol the International Space Station (ISS).

The US space agency wants its Astrobee robot to acquire new capabilities, including the ability to perch. Astrobee will succeed SPHERES - the three free-flying robots that have lived on the ISS since 2006 and are set to be replaced by 2017.

NASA turns to public to design arm for ISS flying robot.
Astrobee will have autonomous capabilities within the ISS, as it will take on a variety of tasks, especially those that are routine or time-consuming.

ALso read: NASA cuts short ISS spacewalk after spacesuit malfunction

The robotic arm on Astrobee "will be used for perching and interacting with small objects," NASA said. NASA has turned to the public for a chance to come up with an "alternative concept, which could provide complementary or enhanced capabilities."

Registration for the contest 'NASA System Architecture Task' began on January 14. NASA will select 30 freelancers from the registrant pool who will develop system architecture for the project, reported.

Those 30 will receive USD 10 and a detailed list of elements needed by NASA. Finalists who achieve those requirements will get USD 100 each.

NASA wants freelancers to help them figure out multiple ways to approach creating a decomposed architecture of a complex system.

NASA will then crowd-source the designs created by the freelancers along with NASA's own designs "using the wider pool of over 17 million freelancers on"


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