Wake up to sunrise SpaceX launch

Katie Ramirez
July 1, 2018

Aiming to lower launch costs by reusing rockets, SpaceX did not retrieve the booster for another flight and instead ditched it in the Atlantic.

Cimon's human handlers promised the first AI space bot will behave itself and said there would be no mutinous takeovers like HAL from the 1968 film classic 2001: A Space Odyssey'.

The Dragon spacecraft, meanwhile, last flew in July 2016 for SpaceX's ninth mission under the CRS contract.

Once about the ISS, CIMON will essentially assist astronauts in a bunch of experiments, and will also be used as a "flying camera".

Trained by Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, it was designed by Airbus in collaboration with IBM.

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".

An observational pilot study with the Crew Interactive MObile companioN (CIMON), aims to get first insights into the effects of crew support by an artificial intelligence (AI) in terms of efficiency and acceptance during long-term missions in space.

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"With CIMON, crew members can do more than just work through a schematic view of prescribed checklists and procedures; they can also engage with their assistant", Airbus said in its original announcement of the new AI companion.

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.

When Gerst calls to CIMON, the floating robot will acoustically sense where Gerst is calling from, orient itself that way, and zoom over.

Using microphones, cameras, and a battery of other sensors, the AI will be used to help Gerst carry out experiments to explore how the crystallization of materials differs in space compared to Earth, an IBM spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email.

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

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.

On Friday sunrise, SpaceX will blastoff its 15th cargo mission to NASA on the International Space Station, which directs supplies of roughly 6,000 pounds above its Falcon 9 rocket.

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