This Cute Camera Drone Now Lives on the International Space Station

This Cute Camera Drone Now Lives on the International Space Station

This Cute Camera Drone Now Lives on the International Space Station

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, just released pictures and video taken by the Int-Ball for the first time.

Another Int-Ball objective is enabling researchers and flight controllers on the ground to visually assess the crew's work in space from the same viewpoint, allowing for better cooperation between space and ground teams in what JAXA calls an "effective cooperative" effort.

The video above shows video taken with the spherical camera drone, as well as imagery of it in action aboard the space station.

The device, which measures almost six inches in diameter (15 cm), will allow mission controllers to closely monitor conditions inside the space station, freeing the crew to focus on more important tasks, such as conducting experiments and making repairs.

The circular drone uses existing drone technology and is enabled by a package known as the Miniaturized Attitude Control Sensors and Actuators in an All-in-one Module.

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Int-Ball (which is an bad name for something so cute) is now active in Japan's "Kibo" experiment module aboard the ISS. The device can move virtually anywhere inside the module, and record images from any angle. Realizing "zero" photographing time by the onboard crew in the end, which amounts to about 10 percent of their working hours at present.

That means researchers on Earth can check the work and experiments of the crew in space as they're happening.

In the footage released by JAXA, viewers can see images of the interior of the ISS captured by the Int-Ball 3D printed bot.

The drone can float in a zero-gravity environment and is operated from earth. The robot drone also has a built-in camera that looks for pink "3D Target Markers", which remind it where it is positioned.

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