After a botched attempt at docking, a new Russian humanoid robot has arrived at the International Space Station. It was the only crew member of a Soyuz rocket that blasted into orbit on August 22nd.
The robot arrived on August 26 and will stay for ten days during which time it will learn tasks performed by astronauts.
The delayed arrival was due to unusual movements of the Soyuz spacecraft as it approached the space station. On the robot's official twitter account its handlers joked: "sorry for the delay, I was stuck in traffic".
This new ISS crew member is known as Skybot F-850, is about the size of a human adult and can emulate some human body movements using its robotic hands. During its time on the station, its ability to perform a range of jobs will be evaluated by astronauts.
“The robot’s main purpose is to be used in operations that are especially dangerous for humans onboard spacecraft and in outer space,” said Russian space agency Roscosmos.
It is not the first robot to be sent into space. In 2011, NASA sent a humanoid robot called Robonaut 2 to perform tasks that were deemed too dangerous for humans. Japan also sent a miniature humanoid robot in 2013. However, Skybot F-850 is arguably the most advanced.
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Before it went up into space, a video shared by Russia’s deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin showed the robot carrying out a number of tasks.
At the end of its mission, Skybot F-850 will be put back into the Soyuz capsule to return to Earth in early September.