Look, No Hands! NASA’s First Astrobee Robot “Bumble” Starts Flying in Space

NASA’s Astrobee robot, named Bumble, demonstrates a baby step of free flight by rotating in space. Astronaut David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency watches over while flight controllers at NASA’s Ames Research Center command Bumble. NASA astronaut Nick Hague photographs the occasion. (Credits: NASA)

ABOARD THE ISS (NASA PR) — On June 14, a robot named Bumble became the first Astrobee robot to fly under its own power in space. Astrobee is a free-flying robot system that will help researchers test new technologies in zero gravity and perform routine work alongside astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Robots that can operate on their own in space, such as Astrobee, can be caretakers for NASA’s lunar gateway and will play a significant part in NASA’s future missions to explore the Moon and Mars.