Russia launches its first-ever humanoid robot into space
- The silvery anthropomorphic robot is named ‘Fedor’, for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research
- It copies human movements, allowing it to remotely help astronauts carry out tasks while they are strapped into an exoskeleton
Named Fedor, for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research with identification number Skybot F850, the robot is the first ever sent up by Russia.
Soyuz ships are normally manned on such trips, but on Thursday no humans were travelling so that a new emergency rescue system could be tested.
Instead of cosmonauts, Fedor was strapped into a specially adapted pilot’s seat, with a small Russian flag in his hand.
The silvery anthropomorphic robot stands 1.8 metres tall and weighs 160 kilograms.
“That’s connecting and disconnecting electric cables, using standard items from a screwdriver and a spanner to a fire extinguisher,” the Russian space agency’s director for prospective programmes and science, Alexander Bloshenko, said in televised comments ahead of the launch.
“The first stage of in-flight experiments went according to the flight plan,” the robot’s account tweeted after reaching orbit.
Fedor copies human movements, a key skill that allows it to remotely help astronauts or even people on Earth carry out tasks while they are strapped into an exoskeleton.
Such robots will eventually carry out dangerous operations such as spacewalks, Bloshenko told RIA Novosti state news agency.
On the website of one of the state backers of the project, the Foundation of Advanced Research Projects, Fedor is described as potentially useful on Earth for working in high radiation environments and tricky rescue missions.
On board, the robot will perform tasks supervised by Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, who joined the ISS last month, and will wear an exoskeleton in a series of experiments expected to take place later this month.
“In the future we plan that this machine will also help us conquer deep space,” he added.
Fedor is not the first robot to go into space.
It was flown back to Earth in 2018 after experiencing technical problems.