Congratulations Robinson bRAiNGERS!

The Robinson Elementary School (@CCISDSTEM) Robotics Club Teams, known as the “Robinson bRAiNGERS”, competed over the weekend in their 2nd @VexRobotics IQ Competition of the season. These students invested many hours into designing, building, programming, and practicing driving their robots. The students were judged based on their scores in the Slapshot 2022-20223 Game (, along with their team interviews and engineering notebooks, which document how they progressed through the engineering design process. 

Both Robinson teams did very well at this competition, especially in the skills challenges.  One of the Robinson teams earned the highest score in the programming skills challenge and was awarded the “Think Award” which “recognizes the most effective and consistent use of coding techniques and programming design solutions to solve the game challenge”. The “Think Award” criteria also includes that the “autonomous programming is consistent and reliable” and the “team clearly explains their programming management process”. 

METECS team member, Angela Reeves, has had the privilege of coaching these bright and talented students this season and METECS sponsored their team shirts. Congratulations Robinson bRAiNGERS!!! 

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METECS Celebrates Big Milestone on ISS with the Installation of REALM-3

On September 8th, NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins installed the hardware for the 3rd phase of the NASA REALM project known as REALM-3. REALM is a NASA project which serves to demonstrate RFID-based logistics management for human spaceflight. This third phase involves the concept of “smart stowage” and includes an RFID reader and antennas embedded into the stowage rack shown above. 

Congratulations to all of the METECS team members and our civil servant counterparts for this big milestone in the REALM project. 

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METECS Participates in the NASA JSC 42nd Annual Chili Cook-Off

Special thanks to Nick Davis who led the effort for a METECS team entry at the Johnson Space Center Chili Cook-off this year. There was even a special appearance by “Chili-bot” to stir the pot! 

Also a thank you to the many employees and family members that helped contribute to a great day. 

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More REALM-2 Astrobee Flights on ISS!

On December 6th 2021, the 3rd RFID Recon Science activity took place in the International Space Station. In this operation, METECS employees tested the advanced RFID homing capabilities that the Recon add-on RFID module gives the Astrobee freeflying robot. (You can read more about the Astrobee robot here:

How did the activity go? RFID Recon Science 3 was a great success! Three homing attempts with the robot were performed, each better than the last. 

The first two attempts were performed with the target RFID tag starting in front of and above the Astrobee Freeflyer robot.  We ended within 15 inches of the target tag on both runs, with the second run ending closer than the first. 

The third attempt was performed with the target tag starting behind and above the robot.  Even though this starting configuration was more challenging than the scenario from the first two attempts, we autonomously homed in on the target so closely that the robot touched the tag! 

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Happy New Year from METECS!

We know that the past year has been a turbulent one for many people, but we are celebrating our accomplishments in 2021 and the many opportunities for 2022. We are very grateful for our employees, our customers, and our exciting work and we are looking forward to a great new year. 

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Lunar Surface Simulation

The METECS team is responsible for building the lunar surface model for lander and rover simulations supporting the Artemis program, such as the NASA Exploration Systems Simulations (NExSyS) team. Starting with digital elevation models from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) our team then adds sub-resolution features to the terrain, such as rocks and craters. We also add in contact dynamics to support interaction between vehicles (such as rovers and landers) against this terrain. Using these high-fidelity terrain models, NASA is able to conduct studies such as lighting and navigation studies which help to characterize the challenges astronauts will face when we return to the Lunar surface!

There have been many recent demos of these lunar simulation capabilities to NASA management as well as other agencies such as JAXA. Congratulations to the METECS employees who have worked to move expand and demo these capabilities

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Training System Simulator Milestone!

Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) training was performed using the Training System (TS) simulator for the first time ever last week! The TS simulation is used daily to train all of the functionality of the International Space Station (ISS), including Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) operations, Visiting Vehicle docking, capture and berthing, and payload relocations. The SPDM is a 2 armed robot that can be used on the end of the SSRMS with its arms grasping tools to execute tasks that would otherwise require Astronauts performing a spacewalk. The METECS Team performed software development, integration, and testing in support of this highly anticipated training capability. Congrats to the METECS Team and all of the other NASA JSC teams involved in reaching this major TS training milestone!

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METECS supports next-generation ARGOS (Active Response Gravity Offload System)

Next-Generation Active Response Gravity Offload System (ARGOS) to hold Conceptual Design Review August 18th and 19th. METECS Software Engineers will present custom software design concepts to safely simulate lunar gravity for Astronauts in pressurized planetary space suits to perform complex Moon training and testing. METECS Systems Engineer will support the Conceptual Design Review to review engineering designs and integrate software, mechanical, electrical, and safety teams. The ARGOS eXploration EVA Simulator, known as ARGOS AXES, will simulate Moon gravity, terrain, and lighting conditions for up to three Astronauts training for the 2024 Artemis mission to the Moon.

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