(WSVN) - Technology that is making life more accessible for a South Florida man could also benefit NASA. 7’s Kevin Ozebek has more on a stellar mission to get astronauts back to the moon. Here’s tonight’s 7 Spotlight.

Ever since he was a kid, Rhonel Cinous, has dreamed of exploring outer space, and thanks to technology, he will.

Rhonel Cinous: “It’s amazing. It’s amazing.”

Rhonel was paralyzed in a diving accident six years ago. He now has to depend on hands-free, voice-control technology in order to live more independently.

Rhonel Cinous: “It is how I do my banking. It’s how I contact my siblings. It’s how I order things that I need. It’s how I adjust the temperature in my home.”

Rhonel works with the United Spinal Association to help others with disabilities.

He tests voice control software programs to see if they work.

Rhonel Cinous: “It is accessible for people who don’t have hand function, as I may not have, or it is available for individuals who can’t move head and neck.”

His years of work have been crucial for the United Spinal Association, so the organization decided to send him on a mission.

Rhonel Cinous: “And they start kind of explaining that Amazon and NASA kind of teamed up, and they were like, ‘Well, we decided — the powers that be all voted — and we want you to represent us.'”

Rhonel was selected to join a virtual crew for the final days of the Artemis 1 space mission.

Last month, the unmanned Orion Spacecraft launched on a 25-day mission orbiting the moon.

On board is a voice-control program called Callisto.

It works like Amazon’s Alexa, and Rhonel and his team are testing it out.

Rhonel Cinous: “And the hope and the plan for the program is to allow voice control to assist the astronauts and Mission Control to interact with the actual shuttle to help them throughout the actual mission.”

Just like you ask your Alexa device to turn on the lights or tell you the weather, Rhonel and his team will request Callisto to do the same. Except, instead of controlling a home, Callisto will control an entire spacecraft.

Rhonel Cinous: “To actually ask questions about the mission, the surface of the moon, what’s going on in the area, and to give it some commands. It’s amazing that not only was I chosen to be the person, but that they’re showing that people like myself have a place in these once-in-a-lifetime events.”

And he hopes it creates an opportunity to make life more accessible for people with disabilities back here on Earth.

Kevin Ozebek, 7News.

If there’s someone or something you think we should feature, send us an email at 7spotlight@wsvn.com.

Copyright 2023 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox