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Human-like robot to join Space Station crew

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Robonaut2, the next generation dexterous Robot. A NASA photo

NEW DELHI (BNS): NASA will launch a human-like robot on space shuttle Discovery as part of the STS-133 mission planned for September.

"Robonaut 2" or R2 developed as robotic assistant that can work alongside humans, will become a permanent resident of the international Space Station, a NASA statement said.

The 300-pound R2 will be confined to operations in the station's Destiny laboratory. However, future enhancements and modifications may allow it to move more freely around the station's interior or outside the complex.

"This project exemplifies the promise that a future generation of robots can have both in space and on Earth, not as replacements for humans but as companions that can carry out key supporting roles," said John Olson, director of NASA's Exploration Systems Integration Office at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

"The combined potential of humans and robots is a perfect example of the sum equaling more than the parts. It will allow us to go farther and achieve more than we can probably even imagine today," he said.

The dexterous robot not only looks like a human but also is designed to work like one. With human-like hands and arms, R2 is able to use the same tools station crew members use.

Robonaut 2 developed jointly by NASA and General Motors is undergoing extensive testing in preparation for its flight.

Robonaut 2, the GenNext robot

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