NASA’s broken robonaut, go back to the Earth this spring

NASA astronaut Steve Swanson poses with the robot Robonaut 2 on the International Space Station after completing an upgrade that gave the robot legs.

(NASA/Steve Swanson via Instagram)

NASA’s space station’s robotic crewmember can head down to the Earth as soon as Possible for repair.

Robonaut 2 will hitch a ride on a Dragon spacecraft as part of SpaceX’s 14th commercial resupply mission, which is set to launch to the International Space Station no earlier than April 2, is scheduled to return to Earth, a month later, NASA officials said.

“Robonaut has a number of problems with the ability to power on the job, and that is already at least a year, maybe two,” Pete Hasbrook, associate program scientist for the International Space Station program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, said during a news teleconference today (March 19). “After a lot of problems on the job and a lot of analysis on the ground, they have closed — pretty convincing, if you let me use that term — that there is a short of some kind in one of the circuit boards, and they are going to need to bring it home to recover.” [NASA’s Humanoid Robonaut 2 Waltz Both Elegant and Creepy]

“They will also be a number of renovation, and then plan to send it back up — I believe that they have the funding to send it back up and then continue the investigation,” he added.

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Johnson Space Center officials have said Robonaut operated on the space station until 2014, when the astronauts added a few legs to increase the robot’s mobility. But the robot was not designed to be operated by the astronauts and the installation proved challenging; then the legs wouldn’t move once the engine is fully powered up, and a number of other errors manifested in its operation.






The Dragon spacecraft, set to launch in April and back in May, though the space; the spacecraft was first used on SpaceX’s eighth resupply mission to the space station. The first stage booster that will lift it off the ground was also used on SpaceX’s 12th resupply mission, NASA officials said.

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