Astrobee is a robotic assistant being designed by NASA for the astronauts on the International Space Station. It will fly around inside the ISS, perch on a wall-mounted handhold, and orient a camera as directed. NASA has already designed the free-flying part of the robot, and is now running a multi-challenge series to encourage participants to develop parts of the robotic arm.The series is comprised of more than a dozen contests, each asking for solutions to a particular piece of the robotic arm, though sometimes the individual contests will involve parts that overlap with others. A total of $25,000 will be awarded, spread out over the multiple contests, with prize amounts ranging from $250 to $5,000. Participants can compete in as many or as few of the contests as they which, as each has been designed to stand alone. Winning solutions may be incorporated into Astrobee’s robotic arm and used on the ISS.
Three winners have already been chosen. Nino Wunderlin is a 23-year-old university student from South Africa, studying for a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering with a specialty in liquid rocket propulsion systems. He used his knowledge in electronics and control, aerostructures for lightweight design and 3D modeling and design for his entry in the “Design an Attachment Mechanism” contest.
“I wanted to challenge myself and see if my work was good enough for NASA,” he said.
37-year-old Conceptual Engineer Myrdal Manzano, from the Philippines, joined Freelancer.com after being laid off from his job more than two years ago. He worked on the “Design a ‘Smart’ Attachment Mechanism” contest, applying his skills in 3D design, PCB layout design, manufacturing, circuit design, robotics and automation.
36-year-old Amit Biswas is a Software Engineer who entered the “Design a Simple Deployment Mechanism” contest with his company, Triassic Robotics. His skills in mechanical engineering, CAD and electronics helped him meet strict requirements for size, weight and power consumption. The design took him about two weeks of work.
“I am very passionate about robotics in general and space robotics is particularly interesting,” said Biswas. “I was excited to work on this project right from the beginning.”
The Astrobee Challenges Series still has nine contests that have not yet been unlocked, so you can still enter if you’re interested. The final challenge is scheduled to conclude in September of this year. Astrobee will be sent to the ISS in 2019 to replace the existing SPHERES robot, and will help astronauts with everything from housekeeping to spacecraft monitoring. It can perform tasks autonomously as well as take direction from Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.
You May Also Like
State of the Art: Carbon Fiber 3D Printing, Part Four
In parts one, two and three of this series, we’ve discussed the variety of technological developments taking place in the 3D printing of composites but have not yet covered the...
Parameter Optimization for 3D Printing of Continuous Carbon Fiber/Epoxy Composites
In the recently published ‘A Sensitivity Analysis-Based Parameter Optimization Framework for 3D Printing of Continuous Carbon Fiber/Epoxy Composites,’ researchers continue to explore the world of enhanced materials for fabrication of...
State of the Art: Carbon Fiber 3D Printing, Part Two
In the first part of our series on carbon fiber 3D printing, we really only just got started by providing a background on the material, some of its properties, and...
State of the Art: Carbon Fiber 3D Printing, Part Three
So far, we’ve covered some of the key aspects of carbon fiber manufacturing and how continuous carbon fiber compares to chopped in early modes of carbon fiber 3D printing. However,...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.