Earlier this year, Amazon and Lockheed Martin announced plans to send Alexa to space as part of Artemis I, the first of several NASA missions intended to land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon.
Alexa will join the mission as part of Callisto, a technology demonstration payload embedded into NASA’s Orion spacecraft. The payload has been built in collaboration with engineers from Amazon, Cisco, and Lockheed Martin.
Artemis I is the first integrated test of NASA’s deep space exploration systems, which includes the all-new Space Launch System rocket and the Orion spacecraft. Although the first mission is uncrewed, Artemis I is an important step that will allow NASA and others in the industry to test technology that could be used in subsequent crewed missions to the Moon and other deep space destinations.
Because Artemis I is an uncrewed mission, Amazon has worked with partners at Lockheed Martin and Cisco to build a virtual crew experience at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Based in the Mission Control Center, the experience will provide remote access to Callisto, and allow Amazon to simulate interactions between Alexa and future astronauts.
Amazon will also launch a new skill for Alexa to bring the mission to life for the next generation of astronauts, engineers, scientists and space enthusiasts. Alexa will provide customers with in-depth information on Artemis I, including telemetry data from the Orion spacecraft; videos and imagery from the mission, including a launch livestream; video of virtual crew interactions from Johnson Space Center; and reminders and notifications about key milestones in the mission.
Launching Alexa into space, and enabling the experiences such as the ones described above, required several innovations on the hardware and software side. Today, we are launching a new series on developer.amazon.com. As part of this series, one new article published every month will explore each of the following innovations in greater detail.
“Sending one byte of Alexa into space required us to innovate across multiple fronts,” said Sidd Lathia, Director of Engineering for AVS. “However, what’s especially meaningful for our team is the impact that these innovations will have on customers on earth. Think of it as one giant leap for Alexa – and an even bigger advancement for acoustics on earth.”