GM and NASA's Robonaut 2 to move into international space station

Summary:NASA and GM said on Wednesday that the Robonaut 2 (R2), a 300-pound humanoid robot, will be launched into space and move into the International Space Station. The effort will put a robotic assistant alongside humans.

NASA and GM said on Wednesday that the Robonaut 2 (R2), a 300-pound humanoid robot, will be launched into space and move into the International Space Station. The effort will put a robotic assistant alongside humans.

The R2, which has a head and torso with two arms and two hands, will launch on the space shuttle Discovery in September. At the space station, engineers will monitor how R2 operates in a weightless environment. R2 will joint Dextre, a Canadian Space Agency robot, used for tasks that usually require a space walk.

With Dextre (below) on the exterior of the space station and R2 inside, robots will covering most bases.

As detailed before, R2 is designed to work like a human and use the same tools available to astronauts. R2 doesn't have the protection to work outside the space station, but can be retrofitted for those activities in the future. R2 will be closely monitored on the ground and the space station crew may be given hardware and software to allow R2 to complete new tasks.

In the meantime, R2 will undergo testing for vibration and radiation. Also see GM statement.

Related: Meet R2: Your robotic coworker courtesy of NASA, GM

[See more photos in an image gallery on SmartPlanet sister site ZDNet]

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Topics: Innovation

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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