OTD in Space - June 28: SpaceX Rocket Explodes After Liftoff

OTD in Space - June 28: SpaceX Rocket Explodes After Liftoff

The used Falcon rocket blasted off hauling almost 2,700kg of cargo, including the spherical AI bot named Cimon; genetically identical mice, or mousetronauts; and super-caffeinated coffee for the crew of the International Space Station.

CIMON was created to find out whether robots could work together with astronauts.

SpaceX employs the Falcon 9 rocket used for this mission, as well as uses the Dragon Cargo Capsule used to supply all the ISS.

In the early hours on Friday, SpaceX's Block 4 Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida, carrying 5,900 pounds of supplies, including a droid named CIMON and coffee from Death Wish Coffee Company, to the International Space Station.

"We like to keep our astronauts super-caffeinated because they work harder then", Shireman joked after liftoff.

So while CIMON was made to help Gerst carry out research, it's also the beginning of the study of human-machine conversational AI interaction in space.

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

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When Gerst calls to CIMON, the floating robot will acoustically sense where Gerst is calling from, orient itself that way, and zoom over. "And while you're speaking, you can tell you're being understood", said Bret Greenstein with IBM.

Airbus says 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.

"CIMON allows the astronaut to keep both hands free, with no need to manually operate a computer, for example", said the German Aerospace Centre.

Live coverage of the rendezvous and capture will air on NASA Television beginning at 5:30 a.m. Monday, July 2.

An Earth science instrument called the ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) will provide a new space-based measurement of how plants respond to changes in water availability.

The used Falcon rocket blasted off before dawn, hauling almost 6,000 pounds (2,700 kilograms) of cargo including the spherical AI bot named Cimon, genetically identical mice and super-caffeinated coffee for the crew of the International Space Station.

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