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Camera drone shares pictures from the International Space Station

A camera drone is now being used on the International Space Station.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been sharing pictures and videos taken by the JEM Internal Ball Camera or Int-Ball, which was delivered to Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo" on the International Space Station on June 4.

It can be controlled using a remote from the ground but is also autonomous.

Explaining some of its features, the team shared: "The camera can move autonomously in space and record still and moving images under remote control by the JAXA Tsukuba Space Center.

"The recorded images and videos can be checked in real time by flight controllers and researchers on the ground, and then be fed back to the onboard crew. The camera adopts existing drone technology and its exterior and inner structures were all manufactured by 3D-printing."

The new drone will also make the onboard crew more efficient by taking the pictures and reducing their workload by 10%.

Detailing the objectives of the drone, they added in a series of bullet points: "Acquiring the capability to move anywhere at any time via autonomous flight and record images from any angle.

"Realising "zero" photographing time by the onboard crew in the end, which amounts to about 10% of their working hours at present.

"Enabling flight controllers and researchers on the ground to check the crew's work from the same viewpoint as the crew. The effective cooperative work between in space and on the ground will contribute to maximized results of "Kibo" utilization experiments.

"Striving to further improve Int-Ball's performance, enhance its functions, and promote the automation and autonomy of extra- and intra-vehicular experiments, while seeking to acquire the robotics technology available for future exploration missions."

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