Early morning on Friday, SpaceX has launched its 15th cargo shipment to the International Space Station (ISS) on its Falcon 9 rocket. This supplies included food and water for the six astronauts at the ISS and also an AI-powered robot which is to be a ‘crew member’ at ISS.
This robot is named as CIMON which stands for Crew Interactive Mobile Companion. Taking a look at this AI robot, it is designed like a volleyball which has a computer screen on it. This screen displays a cartoon face which will be helpful in interaction with the astronauts. CIMON includes 14 fans in it which will function to take the air of space station in and expelled it to move in the direction it wants. And it is due to this propeller like fans that CIMON will be able to float or levitate in the space station.
CIMON is combinedly developed by IBM and Airbus to be used in Germany’s national space station and aims to see that can AI robots and astronauts can cooperate in the space station to make their living easy. Before sending CIMON on board to ISS it has been tested in a parabolic flight which is like an airplane which moves in a particular path to create moments of weightlessness. CIMON is also trained with onboard ISS astronaut Alexender Gerst many times which will help AI robot in identifying his face and voice more effectively. Moreover, according to makers, CIMON can easily interact with all the astronauts easily without any hassle.
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Once CIMON is onboard at ISS, Gerst will be taking help of CIMON for a couple of science experiments as a guide by displaying pictures and videos related to it. CIMON can be asked questions related to experiments. For now, CIMON is just meant to test the AI companion technology and for this reasons, CIMON will be interacting with the crew for just three hours.
Alongside CIMON, theirs also an instrument send to ISS which will help in monitoring the temperature of plants on Earth once attached outside the space station. This instrument will help us in monitoring the stress level of plants and also their water requirement fulfillment. Also, there will be a latching arm mechanism which will be attached to Canada’s robotic arm.
For this mission, SpaceX is using Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon. This will be the third time when SpaceX is using the refurbished Falcon 9 and Dragon. The dragon was last used in July 2016 and Falcon 9 was used in April this year. For SpaceX, it will be a record that it is able to make Falcon 9 ready for flight in just two and a half month after it was landed on one of the companies drone ships. This is will if the last flight for Falcon 9 Block 4, after this it will be replaced by a much powerful Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket which is even more efficient at launching, landing and reusing.
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SpaceX has scheduled the launch of Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 5:42 AM ET on Friday and Dragon will be set out for space station after three days on Monday at 7 AM ET. If the weather conditions are not favored for the launch on Friday, the backup launch is scheduled on Sunday at 4:54 AM ET.
NASA’s live stream for this launch will start at 5:15 AM ET on Friday while that of SpaceX’s broadcast will start before 20 minutes of launch.
Mention your views about the AI robots in the space and also about the CIMON.
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