Russian Robot To Visit Space Station

The Russians were the first to send a dog into space, the first to send a man, and the first to send a woman. However, NASA sent the first humanoid robot to the International Space Station. The Russians, though, want to send FEDOR and proclaim that while Robonaut flew as cargo, a FEDOR model — Skybot F-850 — will fly the upcoming MS-14 supply mission as crew.

Defining the term robot can be tricky, with some thinking a proper robot needs to be autonomous and others seeing robotics under human control as enough. The Russian FEDOR robot is — we think — primarily a telepresence device, but it remains an impressive technical achievement. The press release claims that it can balance itself and do other autonomous actions, but it appears that to do anything tricky probably requires an operator. You can see the robot in ground tests at about the one minute mark in the video below.

The robot uses batteries from an Orlan spacesuit and will work in avatar mode — that is, requiring a human operator — during the initial flight. It is easy to see how using a remote control robot outside the station while the operator remains inside the station isn’t a bad idea.

The FEDOR robots were built for Earthbound rescue operations. However, there’s been a lot of interest in using it as a robotic astronaut. The Skybot F-850 has its own Twitter feed, too.

If you want to tour the ISS, you can from your PC or with some VR goggles. If outer space isn’t your thing, maybe you’d prefer the bottom of the ocean.

23 thoughts on “Russian Robot To Visit Space Station

    1. The vodka may seem like a stereotype joke, but the RP-21 radar in a MiG-21 did actually use evaporative alcohol cooling for its radar, and since it evaporated, you had to refill the tank before every mission.

  1. Wish they’d slow it down a little bit… hard to switch between watching the actual video and reading the machine-translated sub-titles. Not all of us speak Russian.

  2. You missed the coolest thing – “zero gravity detector “Marusia” :) You could see her at upper right corner on the picture at page. This is just a small knitwear doll and nothing else.

    It’s kind of tradition of russian astronauts, they usually took a small toy from home to the voyage, but since every gram of weight shoud be logged and described, to avoid any problems they write down that toys like “zero gravity detector”.

      1. In one film from another evil Russian (Tarkovsky), sentimental astronauts hung cut paper on exhaust ventilation to hear a sound like rustling leaves of trees. But it was highly likely a disguise.

      2. OK, OK, evil russians rob this toys from their own children :)

        Back to Marusia and one important thing about her – we could be 100% shure that this zero gravity detector will work as expected.

        Can’t tell the same about Fedor. AFAIK last time Fedor tried to drill the hole with hand drill something goes wrong. He also had some problems with balancing. Hope this skills would not be necessary on ISS, one unneded hole already exist and there are no gravity to utilize balancing. :)

    1. There no russian “astronauts”, has only russian “cosmonauts”. They arrogantly believe that an “astronaut” is only a traveler between the stars. But the “cosmonauts” is traveler in Cosmos, meaning the substance within which space and the consciousness of peoples are combined. FEDOR is “robotic astronaut” yet.

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