NASA to test Alexa voice control aboard the Artemis I mission

Alexa will be the first voice assistant available beyond Earth. Amazon and Lockheed Martin have revealed that NASA will be taking Alexa to space aboard the Artemis I mission that will launch later in 2022. (including students and special guests) simulate conversations between the digital helper and astronauts.

This is definitely more advanced than the Alexa on your Echo speaker. Alexa will be able to access the Orion spacecraft’s telemetry data, answer “thousands” of mission-related questions, and even control devices such as cabin lights. Amazon has fine-tuned its algorithms to account for Orion’s acoustics. Connectivity in space shouldn’t be an issue either. The Callisto technology that Alexa carries allows both local voice control (even without internet access) and access to the Deep Space Network to provide news from home.

The initiative isn’t just about bragging rights or bringing a Star Trek-style computer to life. Amazon will use the lessons learned from Artemis I to improve Alexa, both for future missions and for everyday users, especially those who have little to no internet connection. The company is also adding new Alexa experiences that give you access to Artemis I’s telemetry, images, video (including the launch livestream), and notifications for key mission milestones.

Amazon hopes to fuel the next wave of space explorers in the process. It introduces an Alexa for Astronauts program that provides access to the virtual crew experience, digital tours of the Johnson Space Center, and a STEM curriculum developed with the help of the National Science Teaching Association and Mobile CSP. The move will of course help Amazon polish its reputation, but it could be worth it if it encourages more students to pursue careers in the aerospace industry.

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