NASA’s International Space Station welcomes its first non-human crew member
The humanoid robot R2, developed by NASA and General Motors, was launched as part of the STS-133 mission on the Discovery shuttle on February 24, 20011. Up until last week R2 was asleep, packed away in its box but now R2 is active and ready to be up and running. R2 even has its own twitter account!
With the idea of building a humanoid robot that could assist astronauts in space, work on the first robonaut began in 1997. Through experiments on earth, R2′s predecessor R1, proved that a robot companion in space could be highly useful, aiding astronauts with tasks that are either very risky or very boring. In 2007, R1 caught the eye of General Motors who had been working on its own version of a dextrous robot and a formal Space Act Agreement was signed between NASA and the multi-billion dollar company.
Currently R2 is still getting a hold of its bearings, getting used to space and the whole microgravity thing. This September R2 will begin some experimental work and ¨as R2 proves its mettle, the robot may graduate to station maintenance tasks, such as vacuuming or cleaning filters¨. In the future, NASA is confident that R2 will become an important asset to astronauts wherever their mission may take them.
Check out some pictures and find out more about R2 HERE