'Floating Brain' Headed to ISS on SpaceX Cargo Run

'Floating Brain' Headed to ISS on SpaceX Cargo Run

Both vehicles for the mission are previously flown: The booster, a previous-generation Block 4 Falcon 9 known as B1045, launched NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, in April.

"What were trying to do with CIMON is to increase the efficiency of the astronaut", said Matthias Biniok, an engineer for chip maker IBM and one of the lead architects behind CIMON's artificial intelligence.

The Dragon spacecraft, meanwhile, last flew in July 2016 for SpaceX's ninth mission under the CRS contract. And CIMON has trained some time on Earth with German astronaut Alexander Gerst, who is already on the ISS board. "It is meant to show to what extent the astronauts' work can be supported in the European Columbus module on the ISS and relieve them, in particular, of routine tasks", said Christian Karrasch, CIMON Project Manager at the DLR Space Administration.

"About 10 minutes after launch, Dragon will reach its preliminary orbit".

Dragon is scheduled to depart the station in August and return to Earth with more than 1,724 kgs of research, hardware and crew supplies, NASA said. Live coverage of the rendezvous and capture will air on NASA Television and the agency's website beginning at 2:30 a.m. PDT (5:30 a.m. EDT) Monday, July 2.

The basketball-sized device called CIMON - shortened from Crew Interactive MObile CompanioN - was described as a "flying brain" by Manfred Jaumann, head of microgravity payloads at Airbus.


So let's hope the International Space Station's new AI-powered robot crewmate will behave itself on its first mission into the heavens.

It was built by Airbus on behalf of the German Aerospace Center in a bid to "demonstrate cooperation between humans and intelligent machines" in the form of a technology experiment.

The robot should be able to guide Gerst through various science procedures, showing videos or pictures as needed.

Once back on, voice recordings are activated again.

The Dragon capsule which will dock Monday with the Space Station and deliver almost 6,000 pounds of supplies to the astronauts orbiting Earth - including some very strong coffee - has previously flown too.

The Dragon's 5,900 pounds of cargo will include Ecostress, developed in Pasadena at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which measures the temperature of plants to better understand how much water they need in space and how they respond to stress.

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