A very special moment today at the Convention Center Odense at the plenary opening of RoboBusiness 2016. Astronaut Andreas Morgensen and André Schiele from ESA and TU Delft Robotics Institute for the first time talked together about the ground breaking experiment they conducted: to remotely operate a robot on earth from the International Space Station.

Despite their busy schedules Schiele and Morgensen found the time to deliver an inspiring keynote speech about the experiment. Especially, the difficulties that the researchers had to overcome were impressive.

"ESA is having a future vision that requires an intensive human-robot collaboration"

For example, Morgensen had to work with an interface he never used before and the engineers had to find a solution for the delay in time. The distance between the ISS and earth is only 400 kilometres, but due to technicalities, the signal from the space station travelled tens of thousands kilometres before it reached ESA-headquarters in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

Schiele is still very happy that he could conduct the experiment with Morgensen, he told afterwards. “ESA is having a future vision that requires an intensive human-robot collaboration. That is the kind of collaboration you need for example when you want to build a village on the moon.”

Future experiments
Morgensen was happy to cooperate: he was ‘exited’ to see the what kind of impact the researchers from Delft University of Technology make, says Schiele. He hopes that future experiments will be done in the same way.

Afterwards, both Schiele and Morgensen talked to RoboValley’s managing director Arie van den Ende and programme manager Arthur de Crook, at the RoboValley stand at RoboBusiness Europe. De Crook sees the experiment as a perfect example of the kind of collaborative research projects that RoboValley wants to embrace.