Andrew Symington (NASA, Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies & KBRWyle)
Astrobee is a free-flying robot designed by NASA to operate alongside astronauts inside the International Space Station, where it will carry out scientific and surveying tasks in microgravity. The robot can autonomously mate with a docking station to recharge, as well as perch to existing ISS handrails using a three degrees of freedom arm. Its open source flight software stack is built on ROS Kinetic, uses a delay-tolerant DDS bridge for space-to-ground communication, and is accompanied by a Gazebo simulator that enables researchers to develop and test behavioral algorithms. This presentation covers the the software architecture, challenges faced during the development process, facilities for testing prototype hardware, and broad lessons we have learned over the last three years.