Robonaut 2 Powered Up In Space

Robonaut 2, Photo Credit: NASA

The Associated Press has reported that NASA’s Robonaut, a humanoid robot sent to space on STS-133 in February 2011, was powered “on” by mission control on Monday, August 22. This preliminary test consisted of sending power to all of Robonaut’s systems; however, it will not be commanded to move until next week.

The most recent iteration, Robonaut 2 (R2), is onboard the International Space Station. R2 was developed by NASA and General Motors with assistance from Engineering Space Systems and boasts being the first humanoid robot in space. According to NASA, R2 utilizes advanced technology in the areas of optimized overlapping dual arm dexterous workspace, series elastic joint technology, extended finger and thumb travel, miniaturized 6-axis load cells, redundant force sensing, ultra-high speed joint controllers, extreme neck travel, and high resolution camera and IR systems. It is hoped that this dexterity will eventually allow Robonaut to perform simple, repetitive, or dangerous tasks on ISS without modifications to the existing platform.

Robonaut is expected to move its fingers, hands, and arms on September 1. According to deputy project manager Nicolaus Radford, Robonaut will need to acclimate itself to the zero gravity environment much like that of a human astronaut. Currently, Robonaut is 3 feet 4 inches tall with arms that are 2 feet 8 inches long. A pair of legs are currently being designed for Robonaut, with plans to launch in 2013.

You can follow Robonaut and the Robonaut team on Twitter under AstroRobonaut.

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