Robonaut 2 is NASA’s humanoid that will travel and work in space. Robonaut is version 2 and is ready for launch aboard space shuttle Discovery in February. The humanoid robot is so ready, in fact, that it’s going up ahead of its legs, which will follow on a later launch in February.
“The robot’s legs aren’t ready yet,” says Rob Ambrose of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. “We’re still testing them. But there will be plenty for R2 to do while waiting for its lower extremities.” The robot will be the first humanoid robot to travel and work in space, so it’ll be training for some big responsibilities.
“This robot will eventually become the space station crew’s right-hand ‘it.’” Ambrose says the humanoid is neither male nor female. Thanks to the legs and a few other upgrades, “it” has a bright future. In fact the ultimate goal is for the humanoid robot to help the astronauts with EVAs.
Like a student in school, the robot must learn to progress stepwise as new features — like legs — are added and it acquires new abilities. “For its first training sessions, R2 will be placed on a fixed pedestal for lessons on a task board. The board has switches, knobs, and connectors like the ones astronauts operate, and the crew will mock up chores for R2 to master.”
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