Amazon, Cisco & Lockheed Martin to Bring Voice & Video Tech to the Moon

Lockheed Martin, Amazon and Cisco have just announced their collaboration on the integration of human-machine interface technologies into NASA’s Orion spacecraft – codenamed Callisto technology, to provide astronauts with the benefit of voice technology, AI and tablet-based video collaboration.

As announced, the Callisto technology uses Amazon Alexa and Webex by Cisco to test and demonstrate commercial technology for deep space voice, video and white boarding communications and is to be integrated into NASA’s Orion spacecraft for the agency’s Artemis I un-crewed mission around the Moon and back to Earth.

“Callisto will demonstrate a first-of-its-kind technology that could be used in the future to enable astronauts to be more self-reliant as they explore deep space. Callisto is a shining example of how new partnerships with commercial technologies can be flown on Orion to benefit future human deep space missions,” said Lisa Callahan, vice president and general manager of Commercial Civil Space for Lockheed Martin.

Named after a favorite companion of the Greek goddess Artemis, the Callisto technology is said to be led by Lockheed Martin, who designed and built the Orion spacecraft for NASA. Furthermore, the tech is designed with features including a custom hardware and software integration developed by engineers from Lockheed Martin, Amazon and Cisco, as well as innovative technology that allows Alexa to work without an internet connection, and Webex to run on a tablet using NASA’s Deep Space Network.

“The Star Trek computer was part of our original inspiration for Alexa, so it’s exciting and humbling to see our vision for ambient intelligence come to life on board Orion. We’re proud to be working with Lockheed Martin to push the limits of voice technology and AI, and we hope Alexa’s role in the mission helps inspire future scientists, astronauts and engineers who will define this next era of space exploration,” said Aaron Rubenson, vice president of Amazon Alexa.

Scheduled to launch in early 2022, the Artemis I – a part of NASA’s goal to land the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface, is stated to be an uncrewed mission which the Callisto partners claimed to have worked with NASA to build a virtual crew experience at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, to allow operators interact with Callisto from the Mission Control Center.

Also, the technology is expected to allow students, families, space enthusiasts and the general public to engage virtually with the Artemis I mission from Alexa-enabled devices by saying “Alexa, take me to the Moon,” and the Webex video collaboration capabilities will offer opportunities for STEM education and remote classroom teaching events.