McClain collaborated with a team on Earth at NASA's Ames Research Center on verifying all of the robot's various systems, including propulsion, cameras, avionics, docking, and ability to transfer data. Two of the robots, Bumble, and another one named Honey launched to the space station on April. 17. The robot in the image is called "Bumble" and there are two more of the same design called "Honey" and "Queen".
The Astrobee is described as a free-flying system - it was made specifically to operate in the ISS's microgravity environment.
There are some unexpected guests aboard the International Space Station (ISS): cute cube robots called Astrobees which help the crew with day to day tasks.
The robot named Bumble is one of three Astrobee robots that will research automated caretaking aboard the ISS.
In its most recent update on the robotic assistants, NASA shared an image of astronaut Anne McClain performing the initial series of tests on the Astrobee robot named Bumble. If required, the robots are capable of returning to the docking station without any assistance and recharge their batteries, NASA said in a statement. According to NASA, 'robots will play a significant part in the agency's mission to return to the Moon as well as other deep space missions'. They perform tasks like taking inventory, documenting steps taken by the astronauts as they perform experiments (by taking pictures using their on-board cameras), or moving cargo through the station.
The robot and one of its companions, Honey, flew to the station on April 17th. In addition, the robot's modular nature allows the operator to add more features when needed.
The system will take some time until it is completed, and more tests will be conducted before the full launch of the robots later this spring.