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Russian humanoid robot boards space station after delay

Russian humanoid robot boards space station after delay

MOSCOW: It was second time lucky on Tuesday as an unmanned spacecraft carrying Russia’s first humanoid robot docked at the International Space Station following a failed attempt over the weekend.

“Sorry for the delay. Got stuck in traffic. Am ready to carry on with work,” the robot’s Twitter account said in a jokey first tweet from space.

Copying human movements and designed to help with high-risk tasks, the lifesize robot, Fedor, is due to stay on the ISS until Sept 7.

Speaking to Russian cosmonauts on the ISS via a video link-up, President Vladimir Putin lavished praise on them for the way they handled the glitch.




The problems with docking were “in some way abnormal”, he said, adding that “as usual for our cosmonauts, you dealt with this work magnificently”.

The robot sat in the commander’s seat of an unmanned Soyuz spaceship that blasted off Thursday from a Russian spaceport in southern Kazakhstan.

“Let’s go. Let’s go,” the robot was heard saying during the launch, repeating the phrase used by the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin.

Soyuz capsules are normally manned on such trips, but this time no humans were travelling in order to test a new emergency rescue system.

The ship was carrying scientific and medical equipment and components for the space station’s life-support system, as well as food, medicines and personal hygiene products for crew members, Russia’s Roscosmos space agency said.

After the successful docking at the second attempt, a Nasa TV commentator praised the vessel’s “flawless approach to the ISS”.

“Second time was a charm... the crew is up to seven,” he said, referring to the six astronauts aboard the space station.

Putin told the crew he hoped Fedor “will give you the help you need and support in your interesting work that is needed by all of us”.

An aborted attempt to dock on Saturday raised more questions over the future of Russia’s space programme, which has suffered a number of recent setbacks.

Last October, a Soyuz rocket carrying an American and a Russian had to make an emergency landing shortly after lift-off — the first failure in the history of manned Russian flights.

Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2019

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