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Astrobee Robot Software


Astrobee is a free-flying robot designed to operate as a payload inside the International Space Station (ISS). The Astrobee Robot Software consists of embedded (on-board) software, supporting tools and a simulator. The Astrobee Robot Software operates on Astrobee's three internal single board computers and uses the open-source Robot Operating System (ROS) framework as message-passing middleware. The Astrobee Robot Software performs vision-based localization, provides autonomous navigation, docking and perching, manages various sensors and actuators, and supports user interaction via screen-based displays, light signaling, and sound. The Astrobee Robot Software enables Astrobee to be operated in multiple modes: plan-based task execution (command sequencing), teleoperation, or autonomously through execution of hosted code uploaded by project partners (guest science). The software simulator enables Astrobee Robot Software to be evaluated without the need for robot hardware.

This repository provides flight software and a simulator, both primarily written in C++. The repository also provides several other utilities, including a tool for creating maps for localization. A separate repository, astrobee_android, contains the Java API, which uses the ROS messaging system to communicate with flight software.

The Astrobee Robot Software is in a beta stage. This means that some features are incomplete, and extensive changes can be expected. Please consult the release for the current list of features and limitations.

Usage instructions

To install and use astrobee, please see the usage instructions.


The Astrobee Robot Software is open source, and we welcome contributions from the public. Please submit pull requests to the develop branch. For us to merge any pull requests, we must request that contributors sign and submit a Contributor License Agreement due to NASA legal requirements. Thank you for your understanding.


To view all the Astrobee documentation, please visit documentation.

If you want to perform research using the astrobee platform, a good tutorial guide is "A Brief Guide to Astrobee’s Flight Software". This will teach you what Astrobee is, how the robot works, how to make your own package, and much more!

For more information, read the Astrobee publications. Learning about the Astrobee platform, software, and localization are good starting points.

Guest Science

If you are interested in guest science, please checkout the astrobee_android nasa github project (if you followed the usage instructions, you should have checked this out already). Once that is checked out, please see astrobee_android/ located in the astrobee_android/ folder.


Copyright (c) 2017, United States Government, as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. All rights reserved.

The Astrobee platform is licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.