Kinect vai pro espaço
Small satellites capable of docking in orbit could be used as “space building blocks” to create larger spacecraft, says UK firm Surrey Satellite Technology. Not content with putting a smartphone app in space, the company now plans to launch a satellite equipped with a Kinect depth camera, allowing it to locate and join with other nearby satellites.
SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft is the latest of many large-scale vehicles to dock in space, but joining small and low-cost craft has not been attempted before. Surrey Satellite Technology’s Strand-2 mission will launch two 30cm-long satellites on the same rocket, then attempt to dock them by using the Kinect sensor to align together in 3D space.
“Once you can launch low cost nanosatellites that dock together, the possibilities are endless - like space building blocks,” says project leader Shaun Kenyon. For example, it might be possible to launch the components for a larger spacecraft one piece at a time, then have them automatically assemble in space.
Researchers have also previously suggested that Kinect could calculate the mass of astronauts in zero gravity on board the International Space Station, as traditional scales do not work in orbit.