A few rescue robots developed by Russia could fly to the International Space Station next year – not as cargo, but in the form of robotic crews.
The Androids, called Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research (Fedor), could fly to the station with an unmanned Soyuz spacecraft, an anonymous source from the missile and space industry told Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
"We are thinking about the idea to use the launch of the unmanned spacecraft Soyuz in the next year for the test flight of the robot Fedor into space, and it is proposed to fly one and two robots at a time," said the Source, said officials of the Russian space agency (Roskosmos) have already given the tentative nod to send the robot on a test space flight
The flight, which is expected to take place in August, will deliver cargo to the station and serve as a test field to demonstrate a range of capabilities with robots
While the report does not mention the capabilities bundled with the bots or the exact mission of the robots, he notes that the androids will not be steering the spacecraft toward the station. Instead, they will sit as passengers and use a number of algorithms to provide regular updates to the flight scenario, such as the condition of the congestion or the temperature level in the vehicle.
All information collected during this mission will be used to enhance robot prototypes and prepare for future flights to the Federation, a partially reusable spacecraft currently being developed by Roscosmos.
"The first flight test prototype is due to be launched in mid-2019," said Sergei Khurs. The head of the robotics project and director of the National Center for Technology Development and Basic Robotics told the Russian news agency TASS: "In total, three prototypes will be manufactured will be involved in various types of pre-flight tests (autonomous, design) development and comprehensive trials) "before the first flight on the Federation.
The new spacecraft being developed as a replacement for Soyuz will function much like NAS An Orion spacecraft. It will have room for four cosmonauts and is expected to go into trial around 2022.
From now on, the agency will conduct three test flights to verify the operation of the spacecraft. Some of these missions could be manned, but all are likely to carry space-configured Fedor robots into space.
These machines were first developed in 2014 for rescue missions or for high-risk tasks that are difficult for us humans to achieve. However, Roscosmos later expressed interest in adapting the bots for future space missions. Since then, the robots have demonstrated a number of abilities, such as driving, lifting heavy weights, using a drill or shooting a pistol with both hands – which made big headlines last year and could raise some questions as it heads into space station next Year.