Artificial intelligence (AI) company Akin is creating software for a prototype AI space crew.

  • Akin, a successful International Space Investment initiative grant recipient, is expanding capacity in the space industry by creating software for a prototype Artificial intelligence (AI) space crew.
  • The crew will support engineers to complete complex test procedures, with the end goal to showcase the role of robots in assisting astronauts in space habitats.
  • Akin is partnering with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to design the AI crew.
  • Akin is developing personalities for three AI crew members, each with distinct characters and roles. The outgoing and cheerful ‘Henry The Helper’ will have two extra AI crew members to assist him. ‘The Inspector’ is a shy but curious team member who will support the team by continually monitoring the environment. There is also ‘The Manager’ who will give a high-level overview of the status of the environment and all tasks being performed.
  • They will act as companions and coaches for JPL engineers, supporting them in complex tasks.

Project Status


Project outcomes and benefits

  • Akin is also designing a new second helper, to meet the high-compliance requirements of the JPL clean room where spacecraft are manufactured.
  • In future, the AI crew could help engineers and astronauts interact and complete tasks on long-duration missions.
  • They are being designed with the goal of providing emotional support for astronauts, combatting the psychological effects of prolonged isolation and complementing the human teams in space.
  • Akin will customise the AI technology for the needs of people living with disabilities.
  • Akin aims to use advanced AI technology to help people run their homes and achieve their goals, and to support human caregivers in their important work.

Connection to the Agency's strategic framework

This project supports the Australian Space Agency’s objectives of:

  • Opening doors internationally
  • Increasing national capability
  • Robotics and automation on Earth and in space

Key Facts

  • Intelligent robots could evolve to be the first form of intelligence to ‘live’ on new colonies like the Moon or Mars. These new colonies bring significant hazards for humans, such as radiation, loss of vision, dust like glass and social isolation.


  • NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
The Akin team comprising of four people who appear to be two men and two women on a couch in front of a tv screen/window with two more male appearing people and a space device behind them

The Akin team

The Akin team standing outside at NASA JPL with a device known as Henry the Helper in front of them

The Akin team with ‘Henry the Helper’ at NASA JPL

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