An unmanned Soyuz spacecraft carrying the Russian humanoid robot Fedor docked at the International Space Station (ISS), the Russian space agency Roskosmos announced on Tuesday (August 27th).
The Soyuz MS-14 docked at the ISS at 03:08 GMT (5:08 am in Paris), a statement said. The ship took off Thursday from the Russian cosmodrome Baikonur, Kazakhstan. A first attempt at mooring failed on Saturday.
The human-sized robot called "Fedor" (acronym for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research) is the first machine of this type sent into space by Russia. He must stay in the ISS until September 7th to learn how to assist astronauts in the space station.
The Soyuz who put it into orbit carried a cargo of 670 kilograms, "including scientific and medical equipment, components for the life system, as well as containers with food, medicine and hygiene products for them. members of the crew " , details the Roskomos communiqué.Read also Russia has launched Fedor, its first humanoid robot, to the ISS
Accidents and corruption scandals
The failure of the first attempt to dock the Soyuz had been a further setback for the Russian space sector, which has suffered in recent years accidents and corruption scandals.
NASA said on Saturday that the Soyuz "could not lock onto the station's target" and "moved away at a safe distance from the orbital complex while Russian flight controllers were studying the next steps to be taken." take . These controllers had told the ISS crew that the problem that had prevented the automatic docking seemed to be in the station and not in the Soyuz, according to NASA.
Last October, a Soyuz with an American astronaut and a Russian astronaut had to make an emergency landing shortly after takeoff.
The Soyuz ships normally have a crew on board, but the one who transported the Fedor robot was unmanned to test a new emergency rescue system.
Fedor, a robot with a silver anthropomorphic body, is 1.80 meters tall and weighs 160 kilograms. He has accounts on social networks Instagram and Twitter, which detail his daily life, for example when he learns to open a bottle of water.
On board the ISS, Fedor has to test its capabilities in conditions of very low gravity. His main skills include imitating human movements, which means he can help astronauts perform tasks.
High risk environment
This is not the first robot to leave Earth. In 2011, NASA sent a humanoid robot named "Robonaut 2" in space, developed in cooperation with General Motors, with the same objective of having it work in a high-risk environment. He returned in 2018 due to technical problems.
In 2013, Japan, in turn, shipped a small robot, along with the first Japanese commander of the ISS, Koichi Wakata. Developed with Toyota, Kirobo was able to speak, but only in Japanese.
Russia, which remains the only country able to transport humans to the ISS, has been trying for years to rebuild its space industry, a source of immense pride in the Soviet era, but which has been ruined after fall of the USSR.
The ISS has orbited the Earth since 1998 at a speed of approximately 28,000 km / h.