Custom PDA for Astronauts

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Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Category: Archive

It appears NASA’s astronauts will be getting a PDA that will leave Palm Platform users jealous: The Personal Satellite Assistant.

The Personal Satellite Assistant (PSA) is a robotic assistant for astronauts working in space. The PSA is about the size of a softball and has sensors for measuring gases, temperature, and air pressure. Also, the PSA is able to perform video conferencing and can communicate with electronic support devices such as computer servers, avionics systems, and wireless LAN bridges.

Equipped with cameras, sensors, speakers, microphones, a display panel, and a fan for propulsion, PSAs could serve as aides for the astronauts aboard the space station and the Shuttle. The floating ball could identify gas leaks, warn astronauts about dangerous temperature changes, and check up on a payload. It could also assist an astronaut, offering advice on an intricate systems upgrade, or relaying messages from mission control. In theory, it could even float up to an astronaut’s night quarters and tell a bedtime story. The systems on the PSA just passed an initial test, and will continue development at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

As its creators imagine, the PSA will float about the International Space Station and aboard shuttle flights within the next few years.

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