Japan’s robot camera ball gives a glimpse of life on the International Space Station
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has for the first time released images and video footage taken from the International Space Station (ISS) by the JEM Internal Ball Camera ‘Int-Ball’.
The Int-Ball is a camera drone that can record video while moving in space via remote control from the ground.
The agency reports that the drone was delivered to the Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo" on the ISS by the US' Dragon spacecraft, launched on 4 June this year, and since then has been controlled from the ground to record a snapshot of the lives of astronauts.
The aim is that eventually on-board crew won’t need to spend any time on photographs and videos – this currently amounts to about 10% of their working hours.
How it works
The camera can move autonomously in space and record still and moving images under remote control by the JAXA Tsukuba Space Center. The recorded images and videos can be checked in real time by flight controllers and researchers on the ground, and then be fed back to the onboard crew. It uses existing drone technology and its exterior and inner structures were all manufactured by 3D-printing.
The videos are below (they are in Japanese but the footage is interesting anyway).