Lockheed Martin, Amazon and Cisco have teamed up to integrate unique human-machine interface technologies into NASA's Orion spacecraft, providing an opportunity to learn how future astronauts could benefit from far-field voice technology, AI, and tablet-based video collaboration.
The Callisto technology demonstration will be integrated into NASA's Orion spacecraft for the agency's Artemis I uncrewed mission around the Moon and back to Earth. Callisto uses Amazon Alexa and Webex by Cisco to test and demonstrate commercial technology for deep space voice, video, and whiteboarding communications. Lockheed Martin, which designed and built the Orion spacecraft for NASA, is leading the development and integration of the payload.
Callisto is named after a favorite companion of the Greek goddess Artemis. The payload features a custom hardware and software integration developed by engineers from Lockheed Martin, Amazon, and Cisco, and includes technology that allows Alexa to work without an internet connection, and Webex to run on a tablet using NASA's Deep Space Network.
Since Artemis I is an uncrewed mission, Callisto partners have worked with NASA to build a virtual crew experience at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, allowing operators to interact with Callisto from the Mission Control Center. These remote interactions will test and demonstrate how voice and video collaboration technologies can help astronauts improve efficiency and situational awareness during their mission, providing access to flight status and telemetry, and the ability to control connected devices onboard Orion. Video and audio of the interactions will be transmitted back to Earth many times throughout the Artemis I mission, allowing engineers to analyze the performance of the onboard systems while also sharing interactions with the public.
The Callisto technology demonstration will also allow students, families, space enthusiasts and the general public to engage with and virtually "ride along" with the Artemis I mission. They can follow the mission on Alexa-enabled devices by saying "Alexa, take me to the Moon," and the Webex video collaboration capabilities will offer opportunities for STEM education and remote classroom teaching events.
Artemis I is currently scheduled to launch in early 2022 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, for a multi-week journey around the Moon and back. Artemis I will provide the foundation for future crewed missions to the Moon and deep space and is part of NASA's goal to land the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface.