Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Robonaut due for launch to ISS

Dan brought in an article reminding me that NASA's new robotic platform Robonaut is due for launch to the International Space Station November 3 2010. The station already has robust robotic arms from Canada and Japan, but what makes Robonaut different is that it can carry out tasks without human intervention where the present robotic equipment requires trained operators to operate them at all times. Another milestone for the platform is that it is the first humanoid robot ever sent into space. The "R2" unit, weighing in at apx. 300 pounds is just the upper half of a complete system, however with two arms and two five finger hands, it is very well suited for space operations. The unit has 350 sensors throughout its body. The gold visored head contains 4 nomal light cameras and an infra-red camera behind the forward facing grill. NASA hopes to have a reliable leg sub-assembly delivered sometime next year which will bring Robonaut to complete functionality.

Robonaut will fly on Discovery's 39th mission which is the next to last shuttle mission (although NASA is reserving one additional flight if needed) .

Wiki site

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