His name is Fyodor and his account Instagram: Russia launches Thursday a rocket carrying to the International Space Station (ISS) its first humanoid robot for a test stay to use such machines to explore the deep space.
Fyodor, bearing the Skybot F850 identification number, is due to take off from a Russian Soyuz rocket at 6:38 Moscow time (0338 GMT) Thursday from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. He must arrive at the ISS on Saturday and stay there for ten days, until September 7th.
The silver anthropomorphic body robot is 1.80 meters tall and weighs 160 kilograms. Fyodor is a Russian name but his English transcription, Fedor, is also the acronym for "Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research".
Feodor has accounts on Instagram and Twitter social networks, which detail his daily life, for example when he learns to open a bottle of water.
Once on board the ISS, the robot will perform various tasks under the supervision of Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, who joined the International Space Station team last month, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.
He will test his abilities under conditions of very low gravity. His main skills include imitating human movements, which means he could help astronauts or perform their tasks.
"It will perform five or six tasks" that "are the secret," said Wednesday Evgeny Dudorov, the head of the company that designed Fiodor, cited by the same source.
His operations will lead him to use a screwdriver or keys, nevertheless said Alexander Blochenko, director of promising programs at the Russian Space Agency (Roskosmos), in an interview with the newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
- Risky missions -
Feodor is not the first robot to fly to the cosmos.
In 2011, NASA sent to space a humanoid robot called Robonaut 2, developed in cooperation with General Motors, with the same goal of working in a high-risk environment.
He returned to Earth in 2018 due to technical problems.
In 2013, Japan dispatched a small robot called Kirobo into space, along with the first Japanese commander of the ISS, Koichi Wakata.
Developed with Toyota, Kirobo was able to speak, but only in Japanese.
Beyond this single mission, the Russian authorities, who consider space conquest as a strategic issue, do not hide their ambitions for Fyodor and his future little brothers.
Such machines could thus carry out dangerous operations like exits in space, explained Alexander Blochenko, director of promising programs at the Russian Space Agency (Roskosmos), to the public news agency RIA Novosti.
The very patriotic director of Roskosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, showed photos of Fyodor to Russian President Vladimir Putin in August, presenting the robot as "assistant to the crew" of the ISS. "In the future, we are counting on this machine to conquer deep space," he said at the meeting.
The conquest of space has been a source of immense pride since the Soviet period, but has suffered serious difficulties after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Despite the Kremlin's very ambitious ambitions in the space sector recently, the sector has chained in recent years humiliating accidents and corruption scandals.
Russia is still the only one capable of sending humans to the ISS.
© 2019 AFP