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Russia launched Fiodor, its first humanoid robot, to the ISS

The machine must assist the cosmonauts of the International Space Station for various tasks and practice imitating their movements in weightlessness. It is part of a new trend of space conquest, which sees robots as the best allies to explore hostile environments.

the first 100% Russian humanoid robot took off aboard a Soyuz rocket at 5:38 am (Paris time) from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. He must arrive on the ISS Saturday, August 23 and stay there ten days, until September 7.

"It's gone, it's gone," said the robot at the launch, according to the footage broadcast on television, in an apparent reference to the words spoken by Yuri Gagarin when he left for the first flight of a man in space, in 1961.

The robot with the anthropomorphous silver body is 1.80 m high and weighs 160 kg. 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. "I am going to fulfill the mission entrusted to me. What are the cosmos still hiding? Can you read one of the messages?

Work in high-risk environments
Once onboard 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.

He will test his abilities under conditions of very low gravity. His main skills include imitating human movements, which means he could help astronauts perform their tasks.

His operations will lead him to use a screwdriver or keys, said Alexander Blochenko, director of promising programs at the Russian Space Agency, in an interview with the newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta. According to him, Fyodor was designed to work in the most difficult conditions, which would be dangerous for man. Inside the station, his body will be "fixed" and he will not be able to move freely.

Conquer the deep space
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 objective of having it work in a high-risk environment. He returned to Earth in 2018 due to technical problems.

In 2013, Japan shipped a small company 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.
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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 perform dangerous operations like exits in space, explained Alexander