Space

Rockets, satellites and a robotic plushy: Photos from the 33rd annual Space Symposium

An optical telescope element (OTE) for the James Webb Space Telescope from Northrop Grumman.
An optical telescope element (OTE) for the James Webb Space Telescope from Northrop Grumman.
View 35 Images
One of the larger panels at the Symposium featured a group of space leaders from around the world including Dr. Johann-Dietrich Wörner, the director general of the European Space Agency (ESA); Robert M. Lightfoot, Jr., the acting administrator of NASA;  Yulong Tian, the secretary general of the China National Space Administration (CNSA); and Igor Komarov Director General of Russia's ROSCOSMOS State Space Corporation. Also included were representatives of the space programs from Japan, Korea, Mexico, Romania, Vietnam, Germany, Canada and more.
1/35
One of the larger panels at the Symposium featured a group of space leaders from around the world including Dr. Johann-Dietrich Wörner, the director general of the European Space Agency (ESA); Robert M. Lightfoot, Jr., the acting administrator of NASA;  Yulong Tian, the secretary general of the China National Space Administration (CNSA); and Igor Komarov Director General of Russia's ROSCOSMOS State Space Corporation. Also included were representatives of the space programs from Japan, Korea, Mexico, Romania, Vietnam, Germany, Canada and more.
Boeing was on hand with a simulator for its Starliner crew capsule, which you can read about here. Just outside that exhibit, was this "blue suit" designed by David Clark, which passengers would don before riding into orbit in the capsule. The suit is much lighter than the one traditionally worn by astronauts because the Starliner capsule will be temperature controlled and heated.
2/35
Boeing was on hand with a simulator for its Starliner crew capsule, which you can read about here. Just outside that exhibit, was this "blue suit" designed by David Clark, which passengers would don before riding into orbit in the capsule. The suit is much lighter than the one traditionally worn by astronauts because the Starliner capsule will be temperature controlled and heated.
One of the key features of the suit is that the gloves can be used to operate touchscreen devices, an element that could come in handy, as the Starliner features built-in WiFi.
3/35
One of the key features of the suit is that the gloves can be used to operate touchscreen devices, an element that could come in handy, as the Starliner features built-in WiFi.
At the booth for the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, a representative from Bioserve Space Technologies was on hand to show off some of the tech they've launched to the International Space Station.
4/35
At the booth for the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, a representative from Bioserve Space Technologies was on hand to show off some of the tech they've launched to the International Space Station.
On the left side is a device that's used to mix bacteria with growth mediums in the microgravity environment of the ISS. Zea said that the benefit to experimenting on bacteria is space derives from the fact that the bugs tend to be more virulent in microgravity, so researchers could find genes being expressed in space that might not be seen on Earth and develop novel treatments to combat them. The box on the right is used to send various critters to space, such as ladybugs and butterflies. Zea said that a jumping spider was sent up and it was observed that the arachnid had to adapt to weightlessness in order to attack its prey, as its usual parabolic arc was disturbed aboard the ISS.
5/35
On the left side is a device that's used to mix bacteria with growth mediums in the microgravity environment of the ISS. Zea said that the benefit to experimenting on bacteria is space derives from the fact that the bugs tend to be more virulent in microgravity, so researchers could find genes being expressed in space that might not be seen on Earth and develop novel treatments to combat them. The box on the right is used to send various critters to space, such as ladybugs and butterflies. Zea said that a jumping spider was sent up and it was observed that the arachnid had to adapt to weightlessness in order to attack its prey, as its usual parabolic arc was disturbed aboard the ISS.
A model of the RL10 engine from Aerojet Rocketdyne. The rocket has been flying for over 50 years and will soon be used to help power NASA's Space Launch System. "A single RL10 will power the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage during the first uncrewed test flight of SLS and Orion, known as Exploration Mission-1, targeted for launch in 2018," says the company. "Four RL10 engines will be on the more powerful Exploration Upper Stage for SLS that will support the first crewed flight of SLS and Orion, known as Exploration Mission-2 that is targeted for launch in 2021."
6/35
A model of the RL10 engine from Aerojet Rocketdyne. The rocket has been flying for over 50 years and will soon be used to help power NASA's Space Launch System. "A single RL10 will power the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage during the first uncrewed test flight of SLS and Orion, known as Exploration Mission-1, targeted for launch in 2018," says the company. "Four RL10 engines will be on the more powerful Exploration Upper Stage for SLS that will support the first crewed flight of SLS and Orion, known as Exploration Mission-2 that is targeted for launch in 2021."
This is a model of Aerojet Rocketdyne's launch abort engine that will fly aboard Boeing's Starliner crew pod. The engines completed hot-fire tests in October of last year.
7/35
This is a model of Aerojet Rocketdyne's launch abort engine that will fly aboard Boeing's Starliner crew pod. The engines completed hot-fire tests in October of last year.
A scale replica of the RS-69 engine from Aerojet Rocketdyne, which has been used since 2002 on United Launch Alliance's Delta IV rockets.
8/35
A scale replica of the RS-69 engine from Aerojet Rocketdyne, which has been used since 2002 on United Launch Alliance's Delta IV rockets.
A model of Aerojet Rocketdyne's RS-25 engine, which served as the Space Shuttle's main engine on all of its 135 flights.
9/35
A model of Aerojet Rocketdyne's RS-25 engine, which served as the Space Shuttle's main engine on all of its 135 flights.
Yet another model from Aerojet Rocketdyne, this is the AR1 booster engine. "Using an advanced oxidizer-rich staged combustion engine cycle, the liquid oxygen/kerosene AR1 will generate 500,000 lbf of thrust at sea level," says the company. "The thrust class enables the engine to be easily configured for use on multiple launch vehicles, including the Atlas V and the Advanced Boosters being considered for NASA’s Space Launch System."
10/35
Yet another model from Aerojet Rocketdyne, this is the AR1 booster engine. "Using an advanced oxidizer-rich staged combustion engine cycle, the liquid oxygen/kerosene AR1 will generate 500,000 lbf of thrust at sea level," says the company. "The thrust class enables the engine to be easily configured for use on multiple launch vehicles, including the Atlas V and the Advanced Boosters being considered for NASA’s Space Launch System."
The FedEx booth at the exhibit raised a few eyebrows as attendees wondered if the courier company was planning a trip to space. It turns out it was there to talk about its role in transporting both heavy machinery, like rocket engines, as well as space-based experiments for NASA and various other public and private entities.
11/35
The FedEx booth at the exhibit raised a few eyebrows as attendees wondered if the courier company was planning a trip to space. It turns out it was there to talk about its role in transporting both heavy machinery, like rocket engines, as well as space-based experiments for NASA and various other public and private entities.
Sierra Nevada Corporation's STPSat-5 satellite is scheduled for launch in 2017 aboard a Spaceflight Inc. integrated Falcon 9 stack along with over 30 other vehicles.
12/35
Sierra Nevada Corporation's STPSat-5 satellite is scheduled for launch in 2017 aboard a Spaceflight Inc. integrated Falcon 9 stack along with over 30 other vehicles.
The Sierra Nevada Corporation was also involved in developing the VEGGIE program that allowed NASA astronauts to chow down on space lettuce for the first time in 2015. One of the innovations the company came up with was the development of a "pillow" that kept roots, water and nutrients contained and prevented them from floating away without the force of gravity to force them downwards into the dirt.
13/35
The Sierra Nevada Corporation was also involved in developing the VEGGIE program that allowed NASA astronauts to chow down on space lettuce for the first time in 2015. One of the innovations the company came up with was the development of a "pillow" that kept roots, water and nutrients contained and prevented them from floating away without the force of gravity to force them downwards into the dirt.
It would have been thrilling to see a version of Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser, but unfortunately attendees had to satisfy themselves with this image. The Dream Chaser is one-fourth the size of the Space Shuttle at 30 feet, but will function in much the same way. "It's reusable about 15 times and we can make a crew or cargo version," a company representative told New Atlas. "The cargo one is the only one that has a mission right now, it's slated to do the CRS-2 in around 2020 with at least six missions to the ISS. It's completely autonomous, no pilot is needed and no person even is needed to run a computer on the ground. No joystick on the ground. It has a gentle runway landing and can land at an airport anywhere in the world, anywhere a 737 can land."
14/35
It would have been thrilling to see a version of Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser, but unfortunately attendees had to satisfy themselves with this image. The Dream Chaser is one-fourth the size of the Space Shuttle at 30 feet, but will function in much the same way. "It's reusable about 15 times and we can make a crew or cargo version," a company representative told New Atlas. "The cargo one is the only one that has a mission right now, it's slated to do the CRS-2 in around 2020 with at least six missions to the ISS. It's completely autonomous, no pilot is needed and no person even is needed to run a computer on the ground. No joystick on the ground. It has a gentle runway landing and can land at an airport anywhere in the world, anywhere a 737 can land."
While Moog might be a name most famously associated with music synthesizers, there's another company that shares the family name. The Moog synthesizer company was founded by Bob Moog, while his cousin Bill invented the electrohydraulic servo valve in 1951, launching an aerospace company. This construction, which the company brought to the Symposium is known as an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Secondary Payload Adapter, or ESPA. The ring can be mounted on a rocket to provide additional payload capacity. Extra payload, such as satellites, can be mounted to the six rings along the outer edge. A company representative told us that Moog is now working on ESPA rings that can be self propelled so that when they detach from the main rocket, they can be steered to exact positions to drop off their cargo.
15/35
While Moog might be a name most famously associated with music synthesizers, there's another company that shares the family name. The Moog synthesizer company was founded by Bob Moog, while his cousin Bill invented the electrohydraulic servo valve in 1951, launching an aerospace company. This construction, which the company brought to the Symposium is known as an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Secondary Payload Adapter, or ESPA. The ring can be mounted on a rocket to provide additional payload capacity. Extra payload, such as satellites, can be mounted to the six rings along the outer edge. A company representative told us that Moog is now working on ESPA rings that can be self propelled so that when they detach from the main rocket, they can be steered to exact positions to drop off their cargo.
An aluminum cryogenic tank from Spincraft, which could be used on a high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) vehicle. Unlike a satellite that needs to maintain motion, a HALE vehicle can remain stationary for long periods of time carrying out its functions, such as surveillance. This fuel tank weighs just 99 pounds and was created using electron-beam welding.
16/35
An aluminum cryogenic tank from Spincraft, which could be used on a high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) vehicle. Unlike a satellite that needs to maintain motion, a HALE vehicle can remain stationary for long periods of time carrying out its functions, such as surveillance. This fuel tank weighs just 99 pounds and was created using electron-beam welding.
The Extravehicular Mobility Unit from UTC Aerospace Systems. "We use 18,000 parts to protect astronauts from the harsh environment of space, including a puncture-resistant outer layer to protect from micrometeroids traveling at 17,000 miles per hour," says the company. "To control temperature fluctuations ranging from -250 degrees F to +250 degrees F every 90 minutes, we provide a liquid cooling and ventilation garment under the suit that consists of 300 feet of thin tubing that circulates cooling water around the body."
17/35
The Extravehicular Mobility Unit from UTC Aerospace Systems. "We use 18,000 parts to protect astronauts from the harsh environment of space, including a puncture-resistant outer layer to protect from micrometeroids traveling at 17,000 miles per hour," says the company. "To control temperature fluctuations ranging from -250 degrees F to +250 degrees F every 90 minutes, we provide a liquid cooling and ventilation garment under the suit that consists of 300 feet of thin tubing that circulates cooling water around the body."
While there was plenty of large tech around at the Symposium, there were also some examples of more subtle breakthroughs. These lenses were developed by the Air Force Research Lab for NASA in order to protect astronauts from laser light. A similar material could be incorporated into space-suit visors.
18/35
While there was plenty of large tech around at the Symposium, there were also some examples of more subtle breakthroughs. These lenses were developed by the Air Force Research Lab for NASA in order to protect astronauts from laser light. A similar material could be incorporated into space-suit visors.
The Visible Imager/Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) from Ball Aerospace is a next-gen weather satellite that "provide(s) highly detailed imagery of clouds, vegetation, snow cover, dust storms, sea surface temperature and other environmental phenomena," according to NASA.
19/35
The Visible Imager/Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) from Ball Aerospace is a next-gen weather satellite that "provide(s) highly detailed imagery of clouds, vegetation, snow cover, dust storms, sea surface temperature and other environmental phenomena," according to NASA.
Software provider AGI was on hand distributing ice cream at its booth. But just nearby, they had a booth that was a sweet treat for the eyes, demonstrating the work of ComSpOC, its Commercial Space Operations division. The lights in the strip at the top showed satellites in geosynchronous orbit around the planet while various computer screens detailed the positions and movements of thousands of satellites. The company says it can help its clients decide where to launch new satellites, as well as monitor those in orbit and send out "neighborhood watch" alerts when other satellites get too close without a just cause.
20/35
Software provider AGI was on hand distributing ice cream at its booth. But just nearby, they had a booth that was a sweet treat for the eyes, demonstrating the work of ComSpOC, its Commercial Space Operations division. The lights in the strip at the top showed satellites in geosynchronous orbit around the planet while various computer screens detailed the positions and movements of thousands of satellites. The company says it can help its clients decide where to launch new satellites, as well as monitor those in orbit and send out "neighborhood watch" alerts when other satellites get too close without a just cause.
This is a model of a missile from Northrop Grumman that was proposed to the US Air Force late last year as a replacement for the country's current intercontinental ballistic missile system (ICBM). The system is dubbed Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD). “The ICBM system has been an effective deterrent since its inception,” said Carol Erikson, GBSD vice president and capture manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “Northrop Grumman has submitted a proposal leveraging our comprehensive ICBM weapons system understanding to deliver a low-risk, adaptable solution within cost and schedule.”
21/35
This is a model of a missile from Northrop Grumman that was proposed to the US Air Force late last year as a replacement for the country's current intercontinental ballistic missile system (ICBM). The system is dubbed Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD). “The ICBM system has been an effective deterrent since its inception,” said Carol Erikson, GBSD vice president and capture manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “Northrop Grumman has submitted a proposal leveraging our comprehensive ICBM weapons system understanding to deliver a low-risk, adaptable solution within cost and schedule.”
An optical telescope element (OTE) for the James Webb Space Telescope from Northrop Grumman.
22/35
An optical telescope element (OTE) for the James Webb Space Telescope from Northrop Grumman.
The COBRA-SS rollout array from SolAero. Made from a mix of a flexible blanket and rigid panels, this system can be attached to a satellite to provide a source of power. It travels in a compact canister and, when it's time to start grabbing energy from the sun, the panels can simply be rolled out like a shade on a window.
23/35
The COBRA-SS rollout array from SolAero. Made from a mix of a flexible blanket and rigid panels, this system can be attached to a satellite to provide a source of power. It travels in a compact canister and, when it's time to start grabbing energy from the sun, the panels can simply be rolled out like a shade on a window.
The US Air Force launched this SES-2 Satellite with a Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload (CHIRP) in 2011 to monitor rocket launches across the globe. The mission was extended three times and the satellite was finally decommissioned in December 2013.
24/35
The US Air Force launched this SES-2 Satellite with a Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload (CHIRP) in 2011 to monitor rocket launches across the globe. The mission was extended three times and the satellite was finally decommissioned in December 2013.
This is the Rutherford engine developed by Rocket Lab, a company that is seeking to provide customers frequent rocket launch opportunities using its Electron carbon-composite vehicle. "Rutherford adapts an innovative electric propulsion cycle, making use of brushless DC electric motors and high-performance lithium polymer batteries to drive its turbo pumps," says the company. "Rutherford is also the first oxygen/hydrocarbon engine to use additive manufacturing for all primary components, including the regeneratively cooled thrust chambers, injector, pumps and main propellant valves."
25/35
This is the Rutherford engine developed by Rocket Lab, a company that is seeking to provide customers frequent rocket launch opportunities using its Electron carbon-composite vehicle. "Rutherford adapts an innovative electric propulsion cycle, making use of brushless DC electric motors and high-performance lithium polymer batteries to drive its turbo pumps," says the company. "Rutherford is also the first oxygen/hydrocarbon engine to use additive manufacturing for all primary components, including the regeneratively cooled thrust chambers, injector, pumps and main propellant valves."
This exhibit, at the German Aerospace Center booth, is a satellite simulator. The compressed-air tanks in the center of the device allow it to float on a cushion of air so that researchers can examine different configurations and their effects on the system.
26/35
This exhibit, at the German Aerospace Center booth, is a satellite simulator. The compressed-air tanks in the center of the device allow it to float on a cushion of air so that researchers can examine different configurations and their effects on the system.
Also on exhibit at the German Aeropsace Center (GAC) booth was this robotic "Spacehand" and "Kinfinity" glove. The hand is designed to be controlled in a natural way by the wearer of the glove and can help with delicate maneuvers on spacecraft in orbit. The robotic hand and the arm to which it attaches has sensors in all the joints that provides it constant feedback on the force it is applying. GAC's Maxime Chalon said that in addition to helping astronauts on the ISS do fine inspection and repair maneuvers, the system could also help snag space debris. "If you think about catching satellites or debris that is tumbling, you can check with the manufacturer and find out how much you can press on various parts of the equipment," he told us. "You set that in the robotic system and say, 'OK, let's go there, grab it, apply as much pressure as you can, and if anything comes to close to the limit, just let go.'"
27/35
Also on exhibit at the German Aeropsace Center (GAC) booth was this robotic "Spacehand" and "Kinfinity" glove. The hand is designed to be controlled in a natural way by the wearer of the glove and can help with delicate maneuvers on spacecraft in orbit. The robotic hand and the arm to which it attaches has sensors in all the joints that provides it constant feedback on the force it is applying. GAC's Maxime Chalon said that in addition to helping astronauts on the ISS do fine inspection and repair maneuvers, the system could also help snag space debris. "If you think about catching satellites or debris that is tumbling, you can check with the manufacturer and find out how much you can press on various parts of the equipment," he told us. "You set that in the robotic system and say, 'OK, let's go there, grab it, apply as much pressure as you can, and if anything comes to close to the limit, just let go.'"
An exact replica of the Mars 2020 Robotic Arm, which will be made out of titanium, not plastic as seen here. The arm, made by Motiv Space Systems, will be attached to the Mars 2020 Rover and will carry a mass spectrometer, cameras and a drill with an extraction bit.
28/35
An exact replica of the Mars 2020 Robotic Arm, which will be made out of titanium, not plastic as seen here. The arm, made by Motiv Space Systems, will be attached to the Mars 2020 Rover and will carry a mass spectrometer, cameras and a drill with an extraction bit.
Also on display from Motiv Space Systems was the MastCam-Z, which will also be deployed on the Mars 2020 Rover. It will be the first camera on the surface of the Red Planet with mechanical focus, zoom and a filter wheel.
29/35
Also on display from Motiv Space Systems was the MastCam-Z, which will also be deployed on the Mars 2020 Rover. It will be the first camera on the surface of the Red Planet with mechanical focus, zoom and a filter wheel.
Standing in stark contrast to all of the shiny mechanical surfaces at the Space Symposium was this plushy harbor seal from PARO. Known as a "therapeutic robot," the toy responds to light, voice, temperature and touch, and eventually forms its own personality based on its relationship with its human companion. The robot also generates warmth to help with verisimilitude. While it definitely stood out as one of the odder exhibits at the Space Symposium, the company representative said that PARO robots have already helped patients in hospital and nursing homes feel a connection that can help with their healing and mental health, and its goal is to try the robots out on longer space missions to help astronauts combat loneliness.
30/35
Standing in stark contrast to all of the shiny mechanical surfaces at the Space Symposium was this plushy harbor seal from PARO. Known as a "therapeutic robot," the toy responds to light, voice, temperature and touch, and eventually forms its own personality based on its relationship with its human companion. The robot also generates warmth to help with verisimilitude. While it definitely stood out as one of the odder exhibits at the Space Symposium, the company representative said that PARO robots have already helped patients in hospital and nursing homes feel a connection that can help with their healing and mental health, and its goal is to try the robots out on longer space missions to help astronauts combat loneliness.
The inside of Boeing's Starliner at the 33rd annual Space Symposium
31/35
The inside of Boeing's Starliner at the 33rd annual Space Symposium
The Blue Origin crew capsule
32/35
The Blue Origin crew capsule
New Atlas' Michael Franco outside the and New Shepard rocket
33/35
New Atlas' Michael Franco outside the and New Shepard rocket
Blue Origin New Shepard rocket at the 33rd Space Symposium
34/35
Blue Origin New Shepard rocket at the 33rd Space Symposium
This is testing device from the Air Force Research Lab. "What this is doing is helping understand the oxygen-rich-stage combustion cycle," said AFRL representative Daniel Brown. "One of the challenges is that this cycle is very high pressure and the conditions are very harsh. We are trying to understand how this higher-performance cycle can feed into our next-generation launch systems."
35/35
This is testing device from the Air Force Research Lab. "What this is doing is helping understand the oxygen-rich-stage combustion cycle," said AFRL representative Daniel Brown. "One of the challenges is that this cycle is very high pressure and the conditions are very harsh. We are trying to understand how this higher-performance cycle can feed into our next-generation launch systems."

For 33 years leaders from both the commercial and government sides of space exploration have gathered at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to show off their top tech.

This year was certainly one of the more impressive installments of the Space Symposium, largely thanks to Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket and space capsule docked in front of the conference hall. But inside the exhibit space, there was plenty more eye candy to behold. In the following gallery we show you some of the highlights.

Sierra Nevada Corporation's STPSat-5 satellite is scheduled for launch in 2017 aboard a Spaceflight Inc. integrated Falcon 9 stack along with over 30 other vehicles.
Sierra Nevada Corporation's STPSat-5 satellite is scheduled for launch in 2017 aboard a Spaceflight Inc. integrated Falcon 9 stack along with over 30 other vehicles.

Yet another model from Aerojet Rocketdyne, this is the AR1 booster engine. "Using an advanced oxidizer-rich staged combustion engine cycle, the liquid oxygen/kerosene AR1 will generate 500,000 lbf of thrust at sea level," says the company. "The thrust class enables the engine to be easily configured for use on multiple launch vehicles, including the Atlas V and the Advanced Boosters being considered for NASA’s Space Launch System."
Yet another model from Aerojet Rocketdyne, this is the AR1 booster engine. "Using an advanced oxidizer-rich staged combustion engine cycle, the liquid oxygen/kerosene AR1 will generate 500,000 lbf of thrust at sea level," says the company. "The thrust class enables the engine to be easily configured for use on multiple launch vehicles, including the Atlas V and the Advanced Boosters being considered for NASA’s Space Launch System."

The Extravehicular Mobility Unit from UTC Aerospace Systems. "We use 18,000 parts to protect astronauts from the harsh environment of space, including a puncture-resistant outer layer to protect from micrometeroids traveling at 17,000 miles per hour," says the company. "To control temperature fluctuations ranging from -250 degrees F to +250 degrees F every 90 minutes, we provide a liquid cooling and ventilation garment under the suit that consists of 300 feet of thin tubing that circulates cooling water around the body."
The Extravehicular Mobility Unit from UTC Aerospace Systems. "We use 18,000 parts to protect astronauts from the harsh environment of space, including a puncture-resistant outer layer to protect from micrometeroids traveling at 17,000 miles per hour," says the company. "To control temperature fluctuations ranging from -250 degrees F to +250 degrees F every 90 minutes, we provide a liquid cooling and ventilation garment under the suit that consists of 300 feet of thin tubing that circulates cooling water around the body."

Standing in stark contrast to all of the shiny mechanical surfaces at the Space Symposium was this plushy harbor seal from PARO. Known as a "therapeutic robot," the toy responds to light, voice, temperature and touch, and eventually forms its own personality based on its relationship with its human companion. The robot also generates warmth to help with verisimilitude. While it definitely stood out as one of the odder exhibits at the Space Symposium, the company representative said that PARO robots have already helped patients in hospital and nursing homes feel a connection that can help with their healing and mental health, and its goal is to try the robots out on longer space missions to help astronauts combat loneliness.
Standing in stark contrast to all of the shiny mechanical surfaces at the Space Symposium was this plushy harbor seal from PARO. Known as a "therapeutic robot," the toy responds to light, voice, temperature and touch, and eventually forms its own personality based on its relationship with its human companion. The robot also generates warmth to help with verisimilitude. While it definitely stood out as one of the odder exhibits at the Space Symposium, the company representative said that PARO robots have already helped patients in hospital and nursing homes feel a connection that can help with their healing and mental health, and its goal is to try the robots out on longer space missions to help astronauts combat loneliness.

The Blue Origin crew capsule
The Blue Origin crew capsule

Head through to the full gallery for a photographic tour of the 33rd annual Space Symposium.

1 comment
RocoWolfe
Wait! Don't tell me. The Kraang designed the OTE; the colours make it obvious
Thanks for reading our articles. Please consider subscribing to New Atlas Plus.
By doing so you will be supporting independent journalism, plus you will get the benefits of a faster, ad-free experience.