Press Release

NASA Robot, Precision Manufacturing Capabilities Showcased at O’Reilly Solid Conference

By SpaceRef Editor
May 16, 2014
Filed under , ,
NASA Robot, Precision Manufacturing Capabilities Showcased at O’Reilly Solid Conference

NASA precision manufacturing and a NASA volleyball-sized robotic satellite equipped with a smartphone will be featured during the first Solid Conference at Fort Mason Center at 2 Marina Boulevard in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 21 and Thursday, May 22, 2014. Solid will bring together more than 100 speakers, a Demo Pavilion filled with connected hardware, and a community of business leaders, engineers and designers exploring the opportunities of a connected future.

Robotic technology from the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, will be on display, including NASA’s Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) integrated with a Google Project Tango prototype smartphone. O’Reilly’s Solid offers participants the first chance to see one of these “Smart SPHERES” space robots. 

A pair of Tango phones, which include custom sensors and multiple cameras, is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station from Virginia on June 10 aboard the second NASA-contracted Orbital Sciences cargo resupply flight. Astronauts will integrate the Tango phones with the SPHERES already in space. Later this summer, NASA will use the Smart SPHERES to test free-flying 3-D mapping and navigation inside the space station. NASA is developing the Smart SPHERES to perform work on the space station that requires mobile sensing, such as environmental surveys to monitor levels of radiation, lighting and air quality. They also will be used to monitor inventory and conduct experiments. 

Solid participants can see the first public display of the Tango-integrated Smart SPHERES and also can learn more about NASA Ames’ precision manufacturing capabilities.

Attendees will be able to view a display featuring high-performance fabrication, manufacturing, rapid prototyping and evaluation methods, including subtractive, additive and assembly-based processes. The display will include examples of flight-quality fabrication work, such as precision-machined structural components for satellites, space probes, aerodynamic experiments and nanosatellite engineering models. Many of these examples are provided courtesy of the Ames Machine Shop and Mission Design Center. Ames’ Office of the Center Chief Technologist serves as a technology and innovation focus in disciplines of interest to the agency and the nation.

For more information about SPHERES, visit:

For more information about the Intelligent Robotics Group at Ames, visit: 

For more information about the Solid Conference, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.