AI Robot Cimon Takes over ISS

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The metal and plastic intelligent robot, built using 3D printing, works together with people as a team, and allows astronauts to communicate hands-free via voice commands.

The capsule most recently visited the ISS in July 2016 while the booster helped to launch a NASA planet-hunting satellite in April.

The unmanned rocket sent fresh space supplies for the International Space Station, as well as the first robot with artificial intelligence.

Both the capsule and the rocket have flown before.

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About 10 minutes into the flight, SpaceX confirmed that the Dragon has successfully deployed from the rocket's second stage and was in a "good orbit". 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. CIMON is to test this AI acquaintance technique, so the bot will only cooperate with the Gerst and other crew members for three hours at the station.

Like HAL, the autonomous Cimon is an acronym: it stands for Crew Interactive Mobile Companion.

The robot has been described as a "flying brain" by Manfred Jaumann, head of microgravity payloads at Airbus.

"I mean, if you go out to the moon or to Mars, you can not take all mankind and engineers with you, but with an artificial intelligence you have instantly all the knowledge of mankind", said German Aerospace Center CIMON project lead Christian Karrasch in the video below.

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CIMON will only stay in space for a few months; the robot is scheduled to return to earth in December so scientists can study and assess its abilities. Already savvy about Gerst's science experiments, the self-propelling Cimon will float at the astronaut's side and help, when asked, with research procedures.

The robot is created to guide Gerst through various science procedures, and show videos or pictures as needed.

CIMON is equipped with a microphone on back, an infrared camera on the front, two batteries, and perhaps most importantly, an "offline" button.

Dragon is carrying more than 5,900 pounds of research, equipment, cargo and supplies that will support dozens of scientific investigations aboard the International Space Station.

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Other experiments on board the Dragon include a new robotic hand, or latching end effector, for the space station's Canadian-made robotic arm.

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