Alexa and Webex to fly onboard Lockheed Martin-built Orion spacecraft for NASA’s Artemis I Mission. Lockheed Martin, Amazon, and Cisco to Bring Voice Technology and Video Collaboration to the Moon.
Innovative ‘Callisto’ payload featuring Alexa and Webex to fly onboard Lockheed Martin-built Orion spacecraft for NASA’s Artemis I Mission.
Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), and Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) 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.
NASA’s Orion spacecraft will use the Callisto technology demonstration for the agency’s uncrewed Artemis I trip around the Moon and returning to Earth. Callisto leverages commercial technology like Amazon Alexa and Cisco Webex to test and showcase deep space voice, video, and whiteboarding communications. The payload is being developed and integrated by Lockheed Martin, which designed and built NASA’s Orion spacecraft.
“Callisto will demonstrate a first-of-its-kind technology that could be used in the future to enable astronauts to be more self-reliant as they explore deep space,” said Lisa Callahan, vice president and general manager of Commercial Civil Space for Lockheed Martin. “Callisto is a shining example of how new partnerships with commercial technologies can be flown on Orion to benefit future human deep space missions.”
Callisto is named after the Greek goddess Artemis’ favorite companion. The cargo includes breakthrough technology that allows Alexa to work without an internet connection and Webex to run on a tablet utilizing NASA’s Deep Space Network, thanks to special hardware and software integration built by Lockheed Martin, Amazon, and Cisco engineers.
“The Star Trek computer was part of our original inspiration for Alexa, so it’s exciting and humbling to see our vision for ambient intelligence come to life on board Orion,” said Aaron Rubenson, vice president of Amazon Alexa. “We’re proud to be working with Lockheed Martin to push the limits of voice technology and AI, and we hope Alexa’s role in the mission helps inspire future scientists, astronauts and engineers who will define this next era of space exploration.”
Because Artemis I is an uncrewed mission, Callisto’s partners collaborated with NASA to create a virtual crew experience at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, allowing Mission Control Center operators to interact with Callisto. These remote interactions will test and illustrate how speech and video collaboration technologies can assist astronauts to increase productivity and situational awareness onboard Orion by providing access to flight status and telemetry, as well as the ability to manage linked objects onboard. Throughout the Artemis I mission, video and audio of the contacts will be relayed to Earth multiple times, allowing engineers to study the performance of the onboard systems while also sharing exchanges with the public.
“The future of technology is about igniting human potential whenever and wherever that may be – which will soon extend to the depths of space,” said Jeetu Patel, executive vice president and general manager of Security and Collaboration at Cisco. “Through Callisto, Webex is enabling boundless video communications and collaboration in deep space while helping to provide the next generation with inclusive and immersive technology. This first-of-its-kind solution could one day support future crewed missions, providing face-to-face interaction between crew, command center and loved ones.”
Students, families, space enthusiasts, and the general public will be able to interact with and digitally “ride-along” with the Artemis I mission thanks to the Callisto technology demonstration. They can follow the mission by saying “Alexa, take me to the Moon” on Alexa-enabled devices, and the Webex video collaboration features will allow for STEM education and remote classroom teaching activities.
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.
- For more information on the Callisto technology demonstration payload visit http://www.lockheedmartin.com/callisto.
- To learn more about the Alexa technology onboard and other Amazon initiatives tied to Artemis I, visit the About Amazon blog.
- To learn more about Webex by Cisco solutions and Artemis I technology integrations, visit the Webex Blog.