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The Autonomous Extravehicular Robotic Camera (AERCam) program is developing a small, free flying vehicle capable of performing inspection and viewing missions in support of International Space Station (ISS) operations. As a free flying camera platform, AERCam could provide additional external views unavailable from ISS or Space Shuttle cameras. It could even be flown to areas around ISS unreachable by suited crewmembers.
The anticipated AERCam configuration for a future ISS implementation is an externally based free-flyer with recharge capability. A fully operational system would support both teleoperation and autonomous control modes. For an autonomous mission, the free-flyer would self-deploy from home base, maneuver to a region of interest while avoiding obstacles, provide desired views, return to home base, dock, and recharge.