Robonaut Returning to ISS.

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NASA’s Humanoid Robonaut Will Return to the ISS Soon, Officials Say

Next week, Russia will send FEDOR, their own humanoid robot into space. I mean, we did it back in 2011, but whatevs, we’re not keeping score anymore… right? The problem with our mission was… well, let’s just say that 2011 mission with NASA’s own Robonaut 2 didn’t quite go so well. Robonaut made it to the ISS just fine, but when human astronauts tried to put his legs on, he went all rogue psycho and started attacking crewmembers his processor stopped responding following a software upgrade. (Sorry, I’ve been listening to too much Marsfall lately.) Now, as Russia readies FEDOR for blast off, NASA announced that Robonaut will return to the ISS soon as well.

By the way, I know I probably don’t need to say it, but Robonaut is a much cooler name than FEDOR. Sorry, Roscosmos.

About Robonaut 2

It’s The Little Things

Turns out, that malfunction with Robonaut back when he, er… she, er… it was aboard the ISS before was due to a faulty power cable. It didn’t show up until the new legs were attached. Once the system demanded more power, the faulty cable overloaded Robonaut’s processor. Astronaut’s attempted to fix it in space, but later analysis showed that such a fix would have been impossible at the time. However, officials pointed out that the diagnostic work the ISS astronauts did on the robot helped make the fix relatively simple once it was back on Earth. 

Wait… Aren’t There Already Plenty of Robots in Space?

Well, yeah, there kind of are. I mean, we have multiple rovers on Mars. A bunch of countries and companies have sent out robots to explore the solar system and other planetary-type bodies for decades now. We’ve even sent robots to asteroids for cryin’ out loud. Robonaut is different, though. It’s a humanoid robot.

The idea with both FEDOR and Robonaut is to test out how humans and robots can work together in space to advance. In fact, astronauts aboard the ISS from both NASA and Roscosmos plan to work together on the research. The main reason for these tests, from NASA’s perspective, is to advance the capabilities of the Lunar Gateway project. 

Lunar Gateway is a NASA spacecraft that will orbit the moon and allow easier access to the Moon for astronauts. If Robonaut and/or FEDOR prove to be successful, it would mean that fewer human astronauts would be required to stay on Gateway to keep it operational. The robots are designed to be able to use tools and perform maintenance tasks the same way that humans do.

Robonaut’s next trip up in the air isn’t set in stone yet. Details about which upcoming mission will carry the robot to space are sketchy. However, the trip will most likely be aboard a Dragon or Cygnus spacecraft. Even though FEDOR will get there first, the two robots are looking forward to working with each other. At least that’s what FEDOR said on Twitter. 

Yeah, This Russian Bot Has a Twitter Account, Too.

Seriously. Roscosmos gave FEDOR a Twitter account. In fact, the Russian robot sent out a friendly tweet to his new companion:

Here’s hoping that Robonaut and FEDOR get along swimmingly. Just not so swimmingly that they team up and murder their human overlords. 

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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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