NASA and General Motors have come together to develop the next generation dexterous humanoid robot called Robonaut2.
This humanoid astronaut helper, will fly to the International Space Station aboard space shuttle Discovery on the STS-133 mission in November 2011.
Although it will initially only participate in operational tests, upgrades could eventually allow the robot to realize its true purpose — helping spacewalking astronauts with tasks outside the space station.
NASA’s Robonaut 2 strikes a post atop its new wheeled base, Centaur 2, at the Johnson Space Center Planetary Analog Test Site in Houston. The Centaur base builds off of lessons learned through the Space Exploration Vehicle, a rover for astronauts, and could allow the dexterous humanoid robot to help with the future exploration of distant planetary surfaces.
The Robonaut 2, or R2, droid flexes its metal muscles in triumph while riding atop its new wheeled base, Centaur 2, at the Johnson Space Center Planetary Analog Test Site in Houston.
The robots – called Robonaut2 – were designed to use the same tools as humans, which allows them to work safely side-by-side humans on Earth and in space.
A crane is used to lift the 330-pound Robonaut 2 out of its shipping container at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The robot will be placed inside a different packing arrangement designed for the unique demands of launch and spaceflight.
Robonaut 2 flexes its ‘muscles’ for reporters during a final demonstration before being packed away for its upcoming launch to the International Space Station in November 2011.
Robonaut B’s upper body can attach to a Segway-built robotic mobility platform (RMP) in order to drive on Earth
Robonaut 2 — or R2 for short — tweeted at twitter. With the help of its team, the robot sent its first tweet on July 26.
R2 will be traveling to the International Space Station aboard Discovery as part of the STS-133 mission.
Robonaut2 surpasses previous dexterous humanoid robots in strength, yet it is safe enough to work side-by-side with humans.
It is able to lift, not just hold, this 20-pound weight (about four times heavier than what other dexterous robots can handle) both near and away from its body.
A fusion between Robonaut and a four or six-wheeled rover could one day explore and work the surface of Mars or the moon
Robonaut 2 uses a “space leg” to secure itself to a mockup of the International Space Station.
The leg apparatus allows Robonaut the freedom to use station handrails to reach a work site, then anchor itself during a spacewalk.
Former astronaut Bruce McCandless operates Robonaut 2, mounted on its Segway scooter robotic mobile platform.