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Japanese robotic camera welcomed aboard space station

Remotely controlled drone aims to save time on photography

The Int-Ball in action on the International Space Station. (Photo courtesy of JAXA)

TOKYO -- Japanese astronauts on the International Space Station have been joined by a floating camera drone developed by the space agency as an important -- and cute -- partner for the crew.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) started building the JEM Internal Ball Camera, or Int-Ball, in June 2016. The robot was launched into space this past June 4 and now operates in the Japanese Experiment Module as what is said to be the first-ever working drone on board a spacecraft.

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