Alexa, Amazon’s smart voice assistant, will be tested on NASA’s Artemis 1 mission

The upcoming test flight on the Orion spacecraft, which will likely take place in the spring or summer of next year, will include a unique payload that will help us understand how voice recognition technology, widely available to consumers today, can be used to assist astronauts on future missions. River.

Lockheed Martin announced last Wednesday that he was working with Amazon and Cisco on a project called Callisto, which will be launched on the Artemis 1 mission, according to SpaceNews. Callisto will demonstrate how Amazon Alexa technology and Cisco Web Remote Conferencing platform can be used in future manned missions.

Callisto will allow astronauts to use voice commands to access information, adjust spacecraft controls, and communicate with teams on Earth. Rob Chambers“We want to show that these unique types of human interface technologies can make astronauts’ tasks easier, safer and more efficient,” Lockheed Martin, director of business space strategy at Lockheed Martin, said in an interview.

One application of the voice recognition system is for astronauts to ask Callisto to access and analyze spacecraft telemetry data. “We are drowning in data and we are in dire need of information,” Chambers added. One way to use Callisto is to say, “Alexa, what is the average temperature of all the batteries and what is the peak temperature?” “The voice assistant will do the data processing for you.”

Callisto can also control the brightness and displays inside the spacecraft or start troubleshooting spacecraft systems. The system can exchange data with the help of webboxing and offers facilities such as sharing information with teams on the ground. “If, as an engineer on a mission team, I tried to find out if things were right or wrong, these technologies would be invaluable tools,” says Chambers.

Callisto system to use the same version of Alexa technology that is available to consumers. Aaron Robinson“Our engineers, in collaboration with the Lockheed Martin and Cisco teams, have done a number of amazing things to make sure Alexa can work well in a very challenging space environment,” says Amazon Alexa vice president. These challenges include limited internet access in Ukraine and different sound quality inside the capsule.

Robinson says Callisto is programmed to respond to thousands of words or the smallest unit of speech he can process locally. The system will determine if it can pick up the requests itself or if it needs to move them to the ground. Companies have extensively tested Callisto on simulators and are confident it is ready to fly into space.

Callisto was built by companies using their own financial resources. Chambers says Lockheed Martin signed a pay-as-you-go space law agreement with a NASA contractor to support Calisto testing and inclusion in Artemis 1 and to cover all related costs.

Since Artemis 1 is an unmanned mission, no one will be on the spacecraft to talk to Callisto. According to Chambers, the “virtual crew members” in the mission control room will send commands to Callisto and monitor the system with cameras inside Ukraine.

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There are currently no plans to use Callisto on future Artemis or other spacecraft missions. Continued use of the system depends on the quality of its performance in the Artemis 1 mission. “The overall goal is to test Callisto on this flight and see if it works,” Chambers added. “Then we can move forward and evaluate how to use Callisto not only in Ukraine, but also in settlements, the Gitoway lunar station, climbers and any other field of application.”

Using Alexa in space can make dreams portrayed in science fiction come true. Robinson says Amazon was influenced by computers in the TV series “Star Trek” in making Alexa. These computers responded to voice commands from the spacecraft crew. He added:

We envision a future in which astronauts can turn to artificial intelligence inside the spacecraft to receive information, help them perform their tasks in simpler and more efficient ways, and ultimately accompany each other. Callisto is an opportunity for us to test this theory and discover how audio technology and artificial intelligence could be useful and potentially help support future manned missions.

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