Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Robonaut Wakes Up In Space
by Staff Writers
Houston TX (SPX) Aug 31, 2011

One of R2's twins is on its way to the Arizona desert to participate in the 2011 Desert RATS - or Research and Technology Studies - field test, simulating a mission to an asteroid. For these tests, R2 will try out a four-wheeled base in its Centaur 2 configuration.

After months of patiently snoring away in its storage bag, Robonaut 2 - the first dexterous humanoid robot in space - finally got its wakeup call on Monday.

R2, as the robot is called, was delivered to the International Space Station on STS-133 - the last flight of space shuttle Discovery - in February, but due to the astronaut's busy schedule of shuttle missions and science experiments, the station crew hadn't been able to do more than unpack it. Until now.

On Monday, Mission Specialists Mike Fossum and Satoshi Furukawa hooked R2 up inside the Destiny laboratory, and teams on the ground sent power to the robot for the first time in space.

"Those electrons feel GOOD!" R2 tweeted from its Twitter account at R2, with help from its team on the ground, has been tweeting even in its sleep for more than a year.

The power was left flowing to the robot more than two hours while Fossum and Furukawa went on with their other activities. This gave engineers on the ground a chance to verify that all the wiring and connections inside the robot made it to space intact, and to see how they would work in the station's microgravity - the way heat builds up and dissipates at the station is hard to replicate on the ground. In other words, R2 needed a checkup before getting the go ahead for exercise (or any movement at all).

The diagnosis was positive.

"Everything came alive," said Nic Radford, Robonaut deputy project manager. "We started getting video out of Robonaut's eyes. Everything worked exactly as we expected it to. It was a very, very exciting time."

That clears the way for engineers to begin leading R2 through its first movements on orbit. The station crew is scheduled to set it up again on Sept. 1, so that commands to move its arms and hands can be sent from the ground. If all continues to go well, R2 could begin helping out with simple station tasks in 2012.

Meanwhile, here on the ground, one of R2's twins is on its way to the Arizona desert to participate in the 2011 Desert RATS - or Research and Technology Studies - field test, simulating a mission to an asteroid. For these tests, R2 will try out a four-wheeled base in its Centaur 2 configuration.


Related Links
Desert Rats at NASA
All about the robots on Earth and beyond!

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Sandia Labs' Gemini-Scout robot likely to reach trapped miners ahead of rescuers
Albuquerque NM (SPX) Aug 19, 2011
In the first moments after a mining accident, first responders work against the clock to assess the situation and save the miners. But countless dangers lurk: poisonous gases, flooded tunnels, explosive vapors and unstable walls and roofs. Such potentially deadly conditions and unknown obstacles can slow rescue efforts to a frustrating pace. To speed resc ... read more

Armstrong relives historic Moon landing

NASA's Next Generation Robotic Lander Gets Sideways During Test

Moon Express Gets Thumbs-Up from NASA for Developing New Lunar Landing Technology

NASA Moon Mission in Final Preparations for September Launch

Epic search for evidence of life on Mars heats up with focus on high-tech instruments

HDU Technologies Demonstrated in 2011 Field Testing

Filling the pantry for the first voyages to the Red Planet

Out of Thin Martian Air

FAA Spaceport grants will strengthen America's commercial space industry

NASA Aeronautics Is Focus Of Research And Technology Roundtable

New Report Analyzes Development Paths of Emerging Space Nations and Sustainable Use of Outer Space

First Soyuz launch from Kourou to go ahead: Arianespace

China State media says Tiangong 1 to launch in early Sept

Time Limits for Tiangong

Orbits for Tiangong

Chinese orbiter launch failure will not affect unmanned space module launch

Russia considering unmanned space station: official

NASA fears leaving space station unmanned

The next ATV resupply spacecraft arrives next mission to ISS

Russia delays next manned space flight

Russian Space Taxi Goes on Strike

Express-AM4 Launch Failure Inter-Agency Commission Concludes Investigations

Progress space freighter destroyed in atmosphere

Russia to test launch Soyuz rockets before delivering ISS crews

Greenhouse Effect Could Extend Habitable Zone

A Planet Made of Diamond

Astronomers Find Ice and Possibly Methane on Snow White

Hubble to Target 'Hot Jupiters'

Lost Russian satellite poses threat to space navigation

New salts for chemical soups

Buzz at IFA electronics show is tablets, tablets, tablets

Scientists put a new spin on traditional information technology

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement