The mission is over for the first Russian humanoid robot to have stayed in space, Fedor, which will no longer be used for such operations but will be replaced by a model more suitable for long and dangerous missions.
"He will not fly anymore, there is nothing left to do for him there, he has fulfilled his mission," Ria Novosti press officer Evgeny Dudorov, the head of the team, told reporters. designed Fedor.
"Technically, everything has been wonderful with the robot and we are therefore completely satisfied with his condition," Doudorov added, adding that Fedor did not encounter "any problems" aboard the ISS.
The humanoid robot returned to Earth on September 6 after spending more than a week aboard the ISS with the mission to assist Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Alexey Ovchinin in their tasks. During the expedition, he carried out a series of works with the instruments and collected technical data.
According to its developers, the anthropomorphic robot, which measures 1.80 meters in height and weighs 160 kg, is not able to replace cosmonauts for longer and more dangerous missions such as spacewalks.
Fedor, short for "Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research", is able to reproduce human movements and can be controlled remotely. But he is unable to move in conditions of zero gravity and his long legs are useless aboard the ISS.
His trip was a first test for the development of more advanced models.
According to Mr. Dudorov, Russian developers are already developing the plans of his replacement, who "will have to meet the requirements of work outside the ship". The future of Fedor has not yet been decided.
- Rescue operations -
The Russian space agency Roskosmos hopes to use robotics to carry out delicate operations such as exits from the ISS and eventually to "conquer deep space".
Bearing the Skybot F850 identification number, Fedor is the first humanoid robot to have been sent into space by Russia. It was preceded in 2011 by NASA robot Robonaut 2, finally back on Earth in 2018 due to technical problems, and by the little Japanese robot Kirobo in 2013.
Fedor's posting aboard the ISS had been a failure with the first attempt at securing his Soyuz spacecraft failed due to "radio equipment failures" aboard the orbital laboratory. The second stowage attempt was the right one.
The Russian space sector, which is historically the pride of the country, tries in recent years to find a new breath with the announcement of ambitious missions. But it remains plagued by a series of embarrassing accidents and massive corruption scandals.
The return of the robot to Earth on September 6 was thus the same day as the remonstrances of the Russian president Vladimir Putin to the Roskosmos officials for the innumerable delays in the exploitation of the new cosmodrome of Vostochny, in the Far East, supposed to embody the renewal of the space industry.
The construction of Fedor, originally planned for the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations in charge of the fight against fire and rescue services, cost about 300 million rubles (about 4.2 million rubles). euros at the current rate), according to Russian media.
It was first to be used for rescue operations on Earth in dangerous conditions for man. It was then adapted for a test operation in orbit.
In April 2017, a video broadcast by Russian media showed a prototype Fedor shoot at targets with a pistol in each hand. The Russian authorities then defended themselves from wanting to "create a Terminator", while affirming that "combat robotics is the key towards the creation of intelligent machines".
© 2019 AFP