Japan’s space agency has an adorable ball-shaped camera drone on the ISS

VIDEO

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has a robotic ball-shaped camera drone called Int-Ball floating around the International Space Station, and for the first time ever it has released videos and images captured by the camera.

The drone, which measures 15cm in diameter and was delivered to the ISS on June 4th, was created using 3D printing technologies; with it, flight controllers and researchers on Earth can watch video from the ISS in real-time.

JAXA hasn’t detailed the type of camera used with Int-Ball, saying only that the robot features ‘existing drone technology.’ According to a report in The Japan Times, a dozen propellers enable Int-Ball to navigate in any direction while a variety of inertial sensors, ultrasonics sensors, and a camera make navigation possible.

JAXA says Int-Ball frees up about 10% of the ISS crew’s time for other tasks… so there is some use for it beyond adorable ISS drone marketing.

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