Robonaut 2 Misses 2010 Space Flight Window
NASA announced today that the STS-133 mission of the space shuttle would not take place sooner than February 3, 2011. The reason is the agency's inability to repair, or at least confirm it has properly repaired the U-shaped aluminum brackets on the shuttle's external tank.
As said, aboard the space shuttle, amidst supplies for the International Space Station (ISS), a very special cargo was getting ready for its first encounter with the darkness of space. It's the Robonaut 2, or R2, a humanoid robot manufactured by NASA with the help of American car maker GM.
Lacking any legs, Robonaut 2 presents itself as a human-like torso, adorned with a head and two hands. NASA says the new model is four times faster, more dexterous and more technologically advanced than the previous generation, being capable of performing tasks until now considered to be out of the reach of robots as a species.
Robonaut 2 will get its place on the space flight for testing purposes. During this first mission, the robot, as well as the effects of zero gravity, radiation and electromagnetic interference will be studied. The findings will be used by NASA for the future generation space robots and by GM for future generation manufacturing machines.