NASA reveals Callisto, a system to send messages from Earth to an iPad on the Orion spacecraft

This technology from NASA’s Artemis 1 mission  displays messages sent from Earth on an iPad aboard the Orion spacecraft.


Artemis 1 , a NASA mission  that serves as a stepping stone for the eventual return of humans to the Moon , has a variety of advanced technologies specially designed to be useful to crews heading to the Earth’s satellite. Included in this series of features is Callisto , the result of a collaboration between Lockheed Martin, Amazon and Cisco that allows anyone on Earth to communicate with Orion and have messages displayed on an iPad screen “for the world to see.” see”.

While only a few people in the entire world will be able to travel into space, technology will allow everyone the opportunity to broadcast and display their written words in the lunar environment. NASA ‘s unmanned Orion capsule used for this first mission of the Artemis program is already in orbit around the Moon , and inside it is a Callisto tech demo including a custom iPad and the Alexa voice assistant .

Testing the Callisto system

While there is no one aboard the Orion spacecraft , the space agency is already preparing for the continuation of the program on Artemis 2 , the second mission in the program that will involve a crew of astronauts for a fairly similar round trip. to the moon NASA will look to have future astronauts use the Callisto system to communicate via voice and video with Earth in the coming days.

Howard Hu, deputy director of NASA’s Orion program , mentioned at the beginning of the year the agency’s interests in this system. “I envision a future where astronauts can access flight status information and telemetry, such as spacecraft orientation, water supply levels, or battery voltage status, through simple commands. voice. Orion is already the most advanced spacecraft ever developed to fly astronauts to the Moon , and voice-activated technology could take it to the next level by enabling interactive computer systems on sci-fi spacecraft to become a reality for the future. next generation of explorerssaid the executive.

What exactly is NASA’s Callisto system?

Callisto is not just any iPad aboard the spacecraft launched by the SLS rocket on November 16. Apple ‘s hardware was modified to shield it from all the radiation from deep space and to be able to use Alexa without needing to access the cloud freely. Instead of the Internet, NASA is using its Deep Space Network , a set of antennas that connect spacecraft to ground controllers, and a database available in Orion .

“ Webex will connect and hold a tablet conference integrated with Webex devices and whiteboards inside a room at the Mission Control Center, demonstrating how video collaboration, powered by compression technology, can be used in the Deep Space Network ,” the agency said of the conference call.

While there are no astronauts on board, this unique hardware allows Callisto to be tested without the need for operators nearby. On the ship, cameras and microphones record all interactions from Earth to assess performance. Of course, the system also allows anyone to send their name and message to the Orion iPad ” for all the world to see.” You only have to enter the official website of the technology and go to the “Communicate with Callisto” section . If the message is approved, it will appear on the device screen.