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High quality production photos of Robonaut (R2).

A Robonaut is a dexterous humanoid robot built and designed at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Our challenge is to build machines that can help humans work and explore in space. Working side by side with humans, or going where the risks are too great for people, Robonauts will expand our ability for construction and discovery. Central to that effort is a capability we call dexterous manipulation, embodied by an ability to use one’s hand to do work, and our challenge has been to build machines with dexterity that exceeds that of a suited astronaut.

Quick Facts

Robonaut STS-133 Trailer

Scheduled for lift-off on February 24th, 2011 on STS-133, when Robonaut 2 (R2) arrives it will be the first humanoid robot in space. Once R2 is unpacked, likely several months after it arrives, it will be initially operated inside the Destiny laboratory for operational testing, but over time, both its territory and its applications could expand.

What is a Robonaut?

The Robonaut project has been conducting research in robotics technology on board the International Space Station (ISS) since 2012.

Recently, the original upper body humanoid robot was upgraded by the addition of two climbing manipulators (“legs”), more capable processors, and new sensors. While Robonaut 2 (R2) has been working through checkout exercises on orbit following the upgrade, technology development on the ground has continued to advance.

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Robonaut 2 waits inside the electromagnetic interference chamber at Johnson Space Center.
Robonaut 2 waits inside the electromagnetic interference chamber at Johnson Space Center following tests that ensure the robot’s electronic systems won’t cause problems for other important systems at the International Space Station. R2 will be journeying to the space station onboard Discovery during the STS-133 mission. Photo credit: NASA or National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


Explore NASA's feature articles about Robonaut 2.

Robonaut 2 poses with its mobility upgrade.

A Step Up for NASA's Robonaut: Ready for Climbing Legs

NASA has built and is sending a set of high-tech legs up to the International Space Station for Robonaut 2 (R2), the station's robotic crewmember.

Robonaut 5, aka Valkyrie

NASA’s R5 aka Valkyrie

Valkyrie, a name taken from Norse mythology, is designed to be a robust, rugged, entirely electric humanoid robot capable of operating in degraded or damaged human-engineered environments.

R1 holding a tether and hook.

Robonaut 1: The First Generation

The Robonaut project seeks to develop and demonstrate a robotic system that can function as an EVA astronaut equivalent.

Robonaut 2 with its climbing legs.

NASA's Robonaut Legs Headed for International Space Station

NASA’s built and is sending a set of high-tech legs up to the International Space Station for Robonaut 2 (R2), the station’s robotic crewmember. The new legs are scheduled to launch on the next SpaceX commercial cargo flight to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Robogloves touching fingers.

Robotic Technology Lends More Than Just a Helping Hand

The Human Grasp Assist device, aka K-Glove or Robo-Glove, is a robotic glove that auto workers and astronauts can wear to help do their respective jobs better while potentially reducing the risk of repetitive stress injuries.

Project Engineer Shelley Rea demonstrates the  X1 Robotic Exoskeleton.

NASA's Ironman-Like Exoskeleton Could Give Astronauts, Paraplegics Improved Mobility and Strength

While NASA’s X1 robotic exoskeleton can’t do what you see in the movies, the latest robotic, space technology, spinoff derived from NASA’s Robonaut 2 project may someday help astronauts stay healthier in space with the added benefit of assisting paraplegics in walking here on Earth.