Science

Fedor the six foot-tall robo-naut lends astronauts a helping hand on board the ISS


Russia‘s pioneering humanoid robot Fedor has started assisting astronauts on board the International Space Station.

Video footage reveals the six-foot tall robot holding a towel and a drill before handing the power tool to an astronaut. 

The robot was sent into space to learn new skills so that it and others like it can carry out dangerous operations instead of astronauts, such as space walks. 

Fedor, the nickname of the pioneering robot, stands at six foot tall, weighs 353 pounds and can perform complex movements by mimicking a human on Earth. Roscosmos hopes it will help astronauts carry out tasks remotely.  

Russia's pioneering humanoid robot Fedor has started assisting astronauts on board the International Space Station. Video footage reveals the six-foot tall robot holding a towel and a drill

Russia’s pioneering humanoid robot Fedor has started assisting astronauts on board the International Space Station. Video footage reveals the six-foot tall robot holding a towel and a drill

Pictured, the anthropomorphic robot Fedor, which is now in orbit, conducted a series of jobs with on-board tools, including an electric drill. It assists an astronaut on board the International Space Station after it was blasted into orbit in an unmanned spacecraft

Pictured, the anthropomorphic robot Fedor, which is now in orbit, conducted a series of jobs with on-board tools, including an electric drill. It assists an astronaut on board the International Space Station after it was blasted into orbit in an unmanned spacecraft

The robot, which stands for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research (FEDOR), is also known as Skybot F850 and is the first robot ever sent up by Russia.

The MS-14 Soyuz spacecraft carrying the unmanned mission blasted off at 6:38 am Moscow time (03:38 GMT) on August 27 from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and Fedor will leave the ISS on September 7. 

‘Contact confirmed, capture confirmed,’ a NASA commentator announced after successful docking last month, which was also confirmed by a statement on the website of Russian space agency Roscosmos.

On NASA TV, which broadcasted the event, the commentator praised the vessel’s ‘flawless approach to the ISS’.

‘Second time was a charm… the crew is up to seven,’ he said, referring to the six humans already aboard the space station. 

Fedor was strapped into a specially adapted pilot’s seat, with a small Russian flag in its hand for the lone mission. 

READ  Microsoft set to release realistic flight simulator in 2020

‘Let’s go. Let’s go,’ the robot was heard saying during the launch, repeating the phrase used by the first man in space Yuri Gagarin.

Soyuz ships are normally manned on such trips, but this time no humans were travelling in order to test a new emergency rescue system.

The robot was sent into space to learn new skills so that it and others like it can carry out dangerous operations instead of astronauts, such as space walks

 The robot was sent into space to learn new skills so that it and others like it can carry out dangerous operations instead of astronauts, such as space walks

The robot, which stands for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research (FEDOR), is also known as Skybot F850 and is the first robot ever sent up by Russia. The MS-14 Soyuz spacecraft carrying the unmanned mission blasted off at 6:38 am Moscow time (03:38 GMT) on August 27

The robot, which stands for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research (FEDOR), is also known as Skybot F850 and is the first robot ever sent up by Russia. The MS-14 Soyuz spacecraft carrying the unmanned mission blasted off at 6:38 am Moscow time (03:38 GMT) on August 27

WHAT IS FEDOR? 

Fedor is the name of a Russian human-like robot which will be sent to the ISS. 

Formally known as Final Experimental Demonstration Research it will be sent to the ISS via an unmanned Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft next week. 

The robot can ‘crawl, stand up after falling down, take and leave driver’s seat in a car, use tools and operate in a regular building’.

It is six foot tall and weighs 233 pounds when not carrying extra cargo. 

It is also capable of carrying up to 44 pounds of cargo. 

It mimics the movement of a human, who will remain on Earth, and is versatile enough that footage has emerged of it lifting weights, walking, driving and using tools. 

Russian experts hope it will one day be able to help build a base on the moon.

The MS-14 was carrying 1,480lbs (670 kg) of dry cargo including ‘scientific and medical equipment, components for the life-support system, as well as containers with food, medicines and personal hygiene products for crew members’, Roscosmos said. 

Fedor – short for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research – can be operated manually by ISS astronauts wearing robotic exoskeleton suits and it mirrors their movements.

READ  Giant 190ft explorer super-yacht is designed to travel 5,000 miles to the most isolated bays

Robots like Fedor will eventually carry out dangerous operations such as space walks, according to the Russian space agency.

The robot can ‘crawl, stand up after falling down, take and leave driver’s seat in a car, use tools and operate in a regular building’.

Russian Soyuz-2.1a booster with the Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft carrying robot Skybot F-850 blasted off from a launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. Fedor was sent to the station for tests and to assist astronauts

Russian Soyuz-2.1a booster with the Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft carrying robot Skybot F-850 blasted off from a launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. Fedor was sent to the station for tests and to assist astronauts

Russia 's space agency released eerie footage of its human-like android ahead of the mission. Nicknamed Fedor - which stands for Final Experimental Demonstration Research - the anthropomorphous machine was seen undergoing a battery of stress-tests at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan

Russia ‘s space agency released eerie footage of its human-like android ahead of the mission. Nicknamed Fedor – which stands for Final Experimental Demonstration Research – the anthropomorphous machine was seen undergoing a battery of stress-tests at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan

Dubbed Putin's robo-naut, the machine can be seen determining targets and honing in on specific points, such as steering wheels, which will surely come in handy while they're in orbit

Dubbed Putin’s robo-naut, the machine can be seen determining targets and honing in on specific points, such as steering wheels, which will surely come in handy while they’re in orbit

Putin's deputy premier, Dmitry Rogozin, claimed the war in Syria had shown Russia the importance of robots in difficult environments, and promised Fedor (pictured) would make a debut in space

Putin’s deputy premier, Dmitry Rogozin, claimed the war in Syria had shown Russia the importance of robots in difficult environments, and promised Fedor (pictured) would make a debut in space

Impressively, some of the first images of Fedor showed the humanoid pumping iron, walking, driving a car and using power tools.

Russian experts hope it will one day be able to help build a base on the moon.

A key task for Fedor will be to ‘assist in construction and use of bases’ on the moon and potentially other planets, said its Russian designers FPI.

Fedor was first unveiled in December 2016 and is part of Vladimir Putin’s strategic plan to conquer the moon for Russia.

Putin’s deputy premier, Dmitry Rogozin, claimed the war in Syria had shown Russia the importance of robots in difficult environments, and promised Fedor would make its space debut in five years – a deadline it has now met.  

READ  Apollo 11 review – stunning return to an incredible journey

Previously, Putin has instructed his space chiefs to make a first landing on the moon within 15 years.

Fedor is not the first robot to go into space. In 2011, NASA sent up Robonaut 2, a humanoid developed with General Motors that had a similar aim of working in high-risk environments.

It was flown back to Earth in 2018 after experiencing technical problems.

In 2013, Japan sent up a small robot called Kirobo along with the ISS’s first Japanese space commander. Developed with Toyota, it was able to hold conversations – albeit only in Japanese. 

An aborted attempt to dock on Saturday had increased uncertainty over the future of Russia’s space programme, which has suffered a number of recent setbacks. 

NASA said that Russian flight controllers had blamed the International Space Station, rather than their spaceship, for the problems with docking.  

WHAT IS THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION?

The International Space Station (ISS) is a $100 billion (£80 billion) science and engineering laboratory that orbits 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

It has been permanently staffed by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts since November 2000. 

Research conducted aboard the ISS often requires one or more of the unusual conditions present in low Earth orbit, such as low-gravity or oxygen.

ISS studies have investigated human research, space medicine, life sciences, physical sciences, astronomy and meteorology.

The US space agency, Nasa, spends about $3 billion (£2.4 billion) a year on the space station program, a level of funding that is endorsed by the Trump administration and Congress.

A U.S. House of Representatives committee that oversees Nasa has begun looking at whether to extend the program beyond 2024.

Alternatively the money could be used to speed up planned human space initiatives to the moon and Mars.



READ SOURCE

Leave a Reply