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Meet the International Space Station's adorable camera drone

Meet the International Space Station's adorable camera drone
From Engadget - July 17, 2017

The Int-Ball could make astronauts more efficient on the ISS. JAXA says crew members spend 10 percent of their working hours with a camera in hand, photographing work or equipment that requires further evaluation. A floating camera drone could, in theory, alleviate the crew of that responsibility, giving them more time to conduct experiments and carry out repairs. The Int-Ball was delivered to the ISS on June 4th, using a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and, for the first time, a reused Dragon cargo capsule. It now lives inside the station's "Kibo" science module.

At the core of the Int-Ball, which measures 15cm in diameter, is a three-axis control unit. The cube-shaped brain converses with 12 fans positioned near the surface of the robot, which adjust its position in zero gravity. A navigation camera looks out for pink "3D Target Makers," which serve as reference points on board the ship. The recording camera, meanwhile, is located between the two eyes so that astronauts can easily identify what it's looking at. JAXA says it's focused now on improving the Int-Ball's capabilities so that it can be more helpful and autonomous on the station.

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