NASA to Launch GM Co-Developed Robot to International Space Station

Posted on June 12, 2010  Comments (3)

photo of humanoid GM NASA roblot

NASA will launch the first human-like robot to space later this year to become a permanent resident of the International Space Station. Robonaut 2, or R2, was developed jointly by NASA and General Motors under a cooperative agreement to develop a robotic assistant that can work alongside humans, whether they be astronauts in space or workers at GM manufacturing plants on Earth.

The 300-pound R2 consists of a head and a torso with two arms and two hands and will launch on space shuttle Discovery as part of the STS-133 mission planned for September. Once aboard the station, engineers will monitor how the robot operates in weightlessness. R2 joins another station robot, known as Dextre. That robot, built by the Canadian Space Agency, consists of two, long arms to perform tasks that normally require spacewalking astronauts to complete.

While Dextre is located on the station’s exterior, R2 will be confined to operations in the station’s Destiny laboratory. However, future enhancements could allow it to move more freely around the station’s interior, and it could one day be modified to operate outside the complex.

“The use of R2 on the space station is just the beginning of a quickening pace between human and robotic exploration of space,” said John Olson, director of NASA’s Exploration Systems Integration Office. “The partnership of humans and robots will be critical to opening up the solar system and will allow us to go farther and achieve more than we can probably even imagine today.”

The dexterous humanoid robot not only looks like a human, it is designed to work like one. With human-like hands and arms, R2 is able to use the same tools that station crew members use. In the future, the greatest benefit of humanoid robots in space may be as an assistant or stand-in for astronauts during spacewalks or for tasks too difficult or dangerous for humans. For now, R2 is still a prototype and lacks adequate protection needed to exist outside the space station in the extreme temperatures of space.

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3 Responses to “NASA to Launch GM Co-Developed Robot to International Space Station”

  1. mühendis
    June 13th, 2010 @ 8:39 am

    One month after I graduate from mechanical engineering. My dream to work for NASA and the turkey. utopian, although I will do my best to accomplish it. for my country is an honor for me to serve. The maximum limits of technology and engineering that NASA should be everyone’s dream.

  2. sheena jones
    June 14th, 2010 @ 6:01 pm

    engineer are always be creative, they are great. They can do everything about it.

  3. BillGater
    August 23rd, 2010 @ 10:23 am

    I think this robot could be the start of an amazing future in space, just think we wouldn’t have to do as many space walks so the cost of this could come down, the robot would always be on the outside of the craft to do any sort of repairs etc. Amazing. I take it the user would use like a virtual reality heads set and hand grips i would love to have a go with it.

    I just wish we would hurry up and build the space elivator this again is all about bringing the cost of space flight down so we can go further and not be stuck in orbit for years. I missed the moon landings but i want to see progress ASAP. I know we have sent probes and rovers to Mars but how cool would a manned mission to Mars be, oh yeah!

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