NASA’s Floating Robot ‘Bee’ Is Alive and Well Aboard the ISS

Home / Articles / External Non-Government


May 24, 2019 | Originally published by Date Line: May 24 on

NASA is betting big on the future of space robots. As automated gadgets become more and more advances, scientists are starting to imagine how robots could not only aid space travelers but perhaps even shoulder some of the load when it comes to various duties.

To explore those possibilities, NASA sent a trio of Astrobee robots to the International Space Station just last month, and the ISS crew is just now getting around to testing them out. In a new post on NASA’s website, the agency teases an early look at the floating bots as astronauts test them out.

NASA astronaut Anne McClain performs the first series of tests of an Astrobee robot, Bumble, during a hardware checkout. To her right is the docking station that was installed in the Kibo module on the International Space Station on Feb. 15. Bumble, and another robot named Honey, launched to the space station on Apr. 17, aboard Northrop Grumman’s eleventh commercial resupply services mission from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. When needed the robots will be able to return to their docking station on their own and recharge their battery power.

Related NASA Links:

What is Astrobee?

Astrobee – ISS Science for Everyone

Here’s Looking at You! Astrobee’s First Robot Completes Initial Hardware Checks in Space

Guest Science Resources (inc. Science Guide, Mechanical Payload ICD, Comms Design Overview)

Synchronized Position Hold Engage Reorient Experimental Satellite (SPHERES) robots