ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet on the International Space Station running the SPHERES UDP experiment.
SPHERES – or Synchronised Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites – are volleyball-sized satellites that obey remote commands and can move around using their own power, propulsion, and navigation. They have been used to test satellite-docking mechanics, algorithms to calculate depth of field and even how satellite tethers behave in space.
The Universal Docking Port (UDP) addition to SPHERES allows the robots to perform autonomous rendezvous and docking. These tests allow engineers to develop software to get the best results for future spacecraft to adapt to situations and take autonomous decisions based on real-time image processing. More about NASA’s SPHERES UDP experiment here: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1814.html
The video is sped up 30 times. Thomas is spending six months on the International Space Station as part of his Proxima mission. During Proxima, Thomas will perform around 50 scientific experiments for ESA and France’s space agency CNES as well as take part in many research activities for the other Station partners.
The mission is part of ESA’s vision to use Earth-orbiting spacecraft as a place to live and work for the benefit of European society while using the experience to prepare for future voyages of exploration further into the Solar System.
Connect with Thomas Pesquet: http://thomaspesquet.esa.int