Robonaut 2 Gets in Shape for 1st Space Flight

As announced this April, the robot built by American manufacturer GM together with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will take to space this fall, in what some might consider a historic moment: mankind's first human-like robot to leave this planet.

Robonaut 2, also know as R2, will board space shuttle Discovery this fall, heading for the International Space Station (ISS). Until then, however, the robot is being put through its paces on Earth, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, as well as at GM’s Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. Currently, engineers and scientists alike test the robot's advanced sensor and vision systems.

R2 weighs 300-pounds and is built as a human with a head, a torso and two hands, but with no legs. It can use the same tools as the station crew members, making it an ideal ISS aid. Unfortunately for those hoping for another historic moment, the first space walk of a human-like robot, that's not going to happen any time soon, due to the lack of proper outer-space protection for the robot.

R2 will not perform any out-of-this-world actions in space either, as it will only be along for the ride in its first mission. During the flight, the robot and the effects of zero gravity, radiation and electromagnetic interference will be studied.

The next launch of the Discovery space shuttle is scheduled for November 1. The space shuttle and its crew are charged with the delivery and installation of the Permanent Multipurpose Module and the Express Logistics Carrier 4. The 35th shuttle mission to the station will also resupply the ISS.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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