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Robotic Camera Keeps Eye on Shuttle

Photonics Spectra
Jan 1998
An astronaut conducted the first tests of NASA's Aercam Sprint, a robotic camera about the size of a beach ball.

NASA's Aercam Sprint, a robotic camera about the size of a beach ball.
In December, astronaut Winston Scott tossed the camera outside Columbia's open cargo bay, where it hovered 40 feet overhead, beaming down TV views of the shuttle. The $3 million camera is equipped with tiny nitrogen thrusters for navigation.
Aercam's debut was a practice run for future missions in which it will serve as an eye on the yet-to-be-built space station. Engineers are working on a more self-sufficient model to inspect the outer fringes of the station.

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