Sidekick uses Microsoft HoloLens to provide virtual aid to astronauts working off the Earth. A pair of the devices is scheduled to launch on SpaceX's seventh commercial resupply mission to the station on June 28.
"HoloLens and other virtual and mixed reality devices are cutting edge technologies that could help drive future exploration and provide new capabilities to the men and women conducting critical science on the International Space Station," said Sam Scimemi, director of the ISS programme at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
"This new technology could also empower future explorers requiring greater autonomy on the journey to Mars," said Scimemi.
The goal of Sidekick is to enable station crews with assistance when and where they need it. This new capability could reduce crew training requirements and increase the efficiency at which astronauts can work in space.
"Sidekick is a prime example of an application for which we envisioned HoloLens being used - unlocking new potential for astronauts and giving us all a new perspective on what is possible with holographic computing," said Alex Kipman, technical fellow, Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft.
NASA and Microsoft engineers tested Project Sidekick and the Microsoft HoloLens aboard NASA's Weightless Wonder C9 jet to ensure they function as expected in free-fall in advance of their delivery to the microgravity environment of the space station.