NASA's Robonaut-2 (R2), a semi-humanoid robot co-developed with GM, will rocket to space on the shuttle Discovery later this year as part of NASA's final space shuttle mission. It will be the first human-like robot NASA has sent to space.
R2's dexterous hands give it the strength and flexibility to manipulate tools just like humans do, making it an ideal helper for humans in space.
Once it gets to space, R2 will be confined to the inside of the International Space Station (ISS) while astronauts test its ability to operate in zero-g. It may eventually get space-certified like its non-humanoid relative, Dextre, a two-armed dexterous manipulator developed by the Canadian Space Agency. Dextre currently assists in tasks outside the space station.
NASA engineers have less than 6 months to get R2 ready for flight, including vibration, vacuum, and radiation tests. Watch this video to see how they'll do it.
R2 will launch on STS-133, scheduled for September, and will remain on the ISS.
Photo and video courtesy of NASA.