Earth to FEDOR: Russia launches humanoid robot into space

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A still image, taken from a video footage and released by Russian space agency Roscosmos, shows robot Skybot F-850, also known as FEDOR, inside the Russian Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft carried by Soyuz-2.1a booster after the launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan August 22, 2019. Russian space agency Roscosmos/Handout via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Russian humanoid robot was making its way on Thursday to the International Space Station after blasting off on a two-week mission to support the crew and test his skills.

Known as FEDOR, which stands for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research, the Skybot F-850 is the first humanoid robot to be sent to space by Russia. NASA sent humanoid robot Robonaut 2 to space in 2011 to work in hazardous environments.

“The robot’s main purpose it to be used in operations that are especially dangerous for humans onboard spacecraft and in outer space,” Russian space agency Roscosmos said on Thursday after the launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The ISS is a joint project of the space agencies of the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada.

Traveling in an unmanned Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft, FEDOR is expected to dock at the ISS on Saturday with 1,450 pounds (660 kg) of cargo including medical supplies and food rations for the crew waiting at the station, NASA said.

FEDOR, who is the size an adult and can emulate movements of the human body, has apparently embraced his mission, describing himself as “an assistant to the ISS crew” on his Twitter page, which has 4,600 followers.

“Everything is normal,” a tweet posted on his account said a few hours into his flight.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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