Robonaut 2, better known as R2 finally arrived at the International Space Station last weekend after sitting packed aboard the space shuttle Discovery for more than four months. R2 is the first humanoid robot to make it into space and at this point he is still very much experimental.
The astronauts have moved the crate holding R2 into the station, but the robot hasn’t been unpacked and set up yet. That will be happening sometime in the next few weeks at which point the crew will start testing R2’s performance in micro-gravity and the engineers from the Johnson Space Center and General Motors will tweak the control systems. For now, the engineers on the ground have sent up a set of task boards that will be used for testing, but eventually R2 is expected to handle some of the more mundane tasks around the station like keeping the air filters and hand rails clean.
The other day, president Obama called the ISS to talk to the combined crews of the station and the shuttle and halfway through the discussion turned to R2. Check out the video above. BTW, R2 has no legs at this time, just an upper body that is mounted on a pedestal.