the 'flying brain' AI assistant has successfully launched into space

the 'flying brain' AI assistant has successfully launched into space

a ‘flying brain’ AI assistant has successfully launched into space. powered by IBM’s watson supercomputer, airbus and germany’s DLR space agency have developed CIMON, the first form of artificial intelligence to arrive on the international space station. short for crew interactive mobile companion, CIMON is described as a ‘mobile and autonomous assistance system’. the used falcon 9 rocket carrying CIMON and the astronauts’ supplies and new scientific instruments successfully launched into space today.


the technology is supposed to help astronauts with a range of tasks as well as providing some sort of companionship. CIMON will be tested on the ISS by alexander gerst during the european space agency’s horizons mission between june and october 2018.

the 'flying brain' AI assistant has successfully launched into space
gerst and CIMON will experiment with crystals, work together to solve the Rubik’s cube and perform a complex medical experiment using CIMON as an ‘intelligent’ flying camera
images courtesy of airbus



we are the first company in europe to carry a free flyer,’ said manfred jaumann, head of microgravity payloads from airbus. ‘a kind of flying brain, to the ISS and to develop artificial intelligence for the crew on board the space station.’


thanks to smart learning, the system can orientate itself and move around, accumulating knowledge with the help of watson AI technology. eventually it will be able to recognise crew members, responding accordingly and gradually improving.


the entire structure of CIMON is made up of plastic and metal, created using 3D printing. according to its creators, it is the size of a medicine ball and weighs around 11lbs (5 kg).


with CIMON, crew members can do more than just work through a schematic view of prescribed checklists and procedures; they can also engage with their assistant,’ airbus this way, CIMON makes work easier for the astronauts when carrying out everyday routine tasks, helps to increase efficiency, facilitates mission success, and improves security, as it can also serve as an early warning system for technical problems.’

  • I remember the first designs by Raymond Loewy for Skylab and I can not help but think: what the hell happened?! Is this what happens when you kick out the designers and leave it to the boys and girls of science and engineering?

  • I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.

    If only Kubrick was still around to see this “progression”…

    Karim Sultan
  • This is a real life GERTY from ‘Moon’!!!

  • Why didn’t they call it Hal ?

  • so sort of a GERTY from the movie, Moon. Voice by Kevin Spacey to assist Sam Bell. As long as CIMON doesn’t go around sexually harassing the astronauts. Gerty turned out to be a loyal friend to the astronauts, which is probably bad if they intend of screwing them over.


have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

technology news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
508,243 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample
designboom magazine