Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsBusiness

Robonaut 2 begins life aboard International Space Station

R2, with some components and design from California firms, is envisioned as an astronauts' assistant.

August 24, 2011|By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times
  • Astronaut Scott Kelly poses with Robonaut 2. The 330-pound robot has a torso, two arms and two five-fingered hands. For now, it sits on a fixed pedestal inside the space station.
Astronaut Scott Kelly poses with Robonaut 2. The 330-pound robot has a torso,… (Associated Press )

A 330-pound humanoid robot has been electronically awakened aboard the International Space Station, beginning its life as an astronaut's assistant.

The robot named Robonaut 2, or R2, will help with routine tasks such as holding tools and vacuuming air filters. The robot was sent up on the space shuttle Discovery in February, but it wasn't powered up until this week.

Clad in a gold helmet with a shiny metallic visor, R2 has a torso, two arms and two five-fingered hands. For now, it sits on a fixed pedestal inside the space station.

"Next steps include a leg for climbing through the corridors of the space station," NASA said in a statement.

NASA envisions R2 eventually assisting astronauts during space walks as they make mechanical repairs to the outside of the space station.

R2 was jointly developed and built by NASA and General Motors engineers at Johnson Space Center in Houston. But some of the engineering know-how and robotic innards came from California, including HRL Laboratories in Malibu, JR3 Inc. in Woodland and Cirexx International Inc. in Santa Clara.

william.hennigan@latimes.com

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|