Robonaut 2 The Resident Robot On The ISS Is Getting His Space Legs
Robonaut 2 has been the International Space Station's resident robot helper for over 3 years now, but everything he has done since his February 2011 arrival in space has been without legs. That is all going to change on Monday April 14th, when SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft will travel to the ISS on a resupply mission carrying with it 5000 pounds of cargo and, a shiny new set of legs for Robonaut 2.
To date, NASA's Robonaut 2 has been carrying out tests while strapped to a pole, but with his new legs the hi-tech robot will soon be able to play an increased role in executing tasks both inside and outside the space station environment. The delivery and fitting of the new legs are the next step (excuse the pun) towards what NASA hopes will be an expanded role for Robonaut 2 onboard the space station. At present Robonaut 2 is able to carry out repetitive tasks such as flipping switches and pressing buttons, but with its new legs, the robotic helper could soon assist in spacewalks by holding onto materials and tools.
When his legs are attached, Robonaut 2 will have a monstrous stride length upwards of 9 feet, but as the video above shows, these legs aren't a replica of the ones attached to your body. With clamps for feet and multiple joints on each leg, Robonaut 2 will be more dexterous than even the most masterful of Yogis. And, as research with his twin back here on Earth has shown, the sky is the limit when it comes to Robonaut 2's abilities. Just recently, ground teams used Robonaut 2 to assist in telemedicine exercises that could one day save an astronaut's life.
Even though the legs will be delivered by SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft on Monday, it won't be until June that Robonaut 2 gets to try them out. After that, they'll be subject to rigorous testing before being given the ok to carry out actual operations