The ROC acts as an incubator for robotic development. The lab, which is about the size of a school gymnasium, is lined with long black curtains that, when the lights are turned off, simulate the darkness of space. The entire facility is designed to imitate how robots will look, move and work in space.
Listen to the buzzing and whirring of robots that help shape the future of space exploration. NASA robotics technologist Brian Roberts takes you on a sound tour of the lab where robots are tested for spaceflight. Credits: Produced at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center by Katie Atkinson
The robotics team tests technologies and operations for future satellite servicing, exploration and science missions. The engineers here envision a future where robots make space exploration more cost-effective and astronaut tasks more efficient.
Working with robots is all about experimentation. Mockups and engineering units help the team test and tweak robots before launch.
“Just like a sports team practices before they play a game, we practice with robots as well,” said Brian Roberts, a robotics technologist at Goddard. “We work out all the details of how to put the robot together and make sure it works before we build the more expensive flight unit.”