On 22nd August 2019, Russia sent its first-ever humanoid – Fedor – to space.
Fedor, short for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research, blasted off in a Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It is expected to reach the International Space Station on Saturday, 24th August.
Fedor, also called Skybot F850, is around 5 feet and 11 inches tall and weighs 160 kilograms.
The life-sized robot will spend 10 days in space and will assist astronauts at the International Space Station, staying there till 7th September. According to Alexander Bloshenko, the director of the Russian Space Agency for prospective programmes and science, Fedor will carry tasks such as “connecting and disconnecting cables and using items from a screwdriver and a spanner to a fire extinguisher.”
Generally, Soyuz ships are manned on such trips. However, no humans are travelling with Fedor, who was in the specially adapted pilot’s seat, holding a tiny Russian flag in its hand. Fedor was heard saying “Let’s go. Let’s go,” during the launch. These are the famous words that Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, used when his spacecraft was due to be launched.
Fedor, however, is not the first robot to be launched into space. Earlier, in 2011, NASA sent Robonaut 2 into space. This humanoid was developed in collaboration with General Motors. Unfortunately, it was brought back to earth after experiencing technical problems. In 2013, Japan too sent a robot called Kirobo into space that was developed in collaboration with Toyota.
Looks like robots are the future! Did you read up about how a robot is a priest in a Japanese Buddhist temple?