The Freelance Economy Takes Off (Into Interplanetary Space)

The Freelance Economy Takes Off (Into Interplanetary Space)

NASA and join forces; this partnership will lead to the creation of a number of CAD models for the International Space Station

Emma Hutchings
  • 17 july 2015

NASA’s Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation has partnered with to help design CAD models of tools. These will be used by the Robonaut 2 (a humanoid robot that functions as an astronaut assistant) on the International Space Station.

The Robonaut 2 will manipulate many of these tools and interfaces during its daily chores. The CAD models will be representative of tools the robot uses, such as RFID scanners, drills, and scopemeters.


NASA is analyzing the costs and benefits of using crowdsourcing sites like to perform necessary development tasks. They are interested in engaging online communities to help contribute to the efforts of space exploration. The Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation was established following a successful pilot program, which set out to determine if crowdsourcing had the potential to positively affect NASA’s ability to accelerate and augment research and development.

By tapping into the site’s database of 16 million users, located in over 247 countries, regions and territories, they should receive a large number of designs and a wide variety of ideas.


Over the next few weeks the NASA Tournament Lab will host a series of contests to crowdsource some of the most complex problems faced by astronauts. The NASA challenges can be viewed on a dedicated site, with more being posted each week.’s CEO Matt Barrie said:

We are honored to welcome NASA to the 16 million strong user community. NASA Tournament Lab working with clearly shows that crowdsourcing solutions has become an essential part of creativity and innovation and that there is a strong demand to develop ingenious and world­-leading solutions online.

We look forward to collaborating with NASA on the cutting edge of space exploration, and seeing the CAD designs our freelancers produce for Robonaut 2.

NASA challenges

Images: NASA

+Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation
+Market Research
+NASA challenges
+NASA Tournament Lab
+Robonaut 2

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