Airbus’ free-flying CIMON-2 spherical technology demonstrator has demonstrated its capabilities during initial tests on the International Space Station (ISS).

Developed for the German Aerospace Center Space Administration (DLR), this updated version of the CIMON astronaut assistant demonstrated several features during interactions with ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano.

Featuring artificial intelligence, CIMON-2 commenced its journey to the ISS on 5 December 2019. It was launched with the CRS-19 supply mission from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

It will stay on the ISS for up to three years. Within two months after the successful first use of CIMON-2, the project team has now received the analysis.

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Several tests have been conducted on CIMON-2 such as on its autonomous flight capabilities, voice-controlled navigation, and its ability to understand and finish several tasks.

It also flew to a particular point in the ISS Columbus module for the first time.

It could take photos and videos in the ISS module on request. With such capabilities, CIMON-2 is expected to help in future scientific experiments on the ISS.

CIMON was developed by Airbus in Friedrichshafen and Bremen on behalf of the German Aerospace Center Space Administration (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt – DLR) and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Commencing in August 2016, around 50-member project team from DLR, Airbus, IBM and LMU worked on the implementation of CIMON-1 for around two years.

CIMON flew onboard the ISS from 2 July 2018 to 27 August 2019 and made its 90min debut on 15 November 2018 with German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst.

After the successful CIMON-1 mission, the first European autonomous robot in human space flight returned to Earth. The work on CIMON-2 was completed in less than a year.