Posted by: Nar Williams | March 11, 2008

Sci-Fi Dreams Do Come True: Robots Now in Space

Dextre the Space Robot

The seven Endeavour astronauts who launched into space early this morning have a robot on board, bound for the International Space Station and designed to peform spacewalks on the station… Nerdgasm!

The Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, or Dextre, was built by the Canadian Space Agency, and is basically a giant robotic hand. It will be installed on the 16 day Endeavour mission, connecting to a robotic shoulder and arm already at the station.

Dextre has an important job — he is designed to help astronauts perform tasks that require dangerous space walks outside the station. Space station astronauts and flight controllers on the ground will both have control over Dextre, who will be helping the astronauts on three of their five space walks. The CSA:

Like a mechanic in space, Dextre can pivot at the waist, and its shoulders support two identical arms with seven offset joints that allow for great freedom of movement.

Dextre’s grippers have built in wrenches, cameras, and lights. But before he can go steal the show from us humans, he has to be put together. It’s up to the Endeavour team to assemble the 3,400-pound robot and attach it to the outside of the space station.

Would it be too lame for me to say this is a giant leap for robot-kind? Check out more pictures below:

DextreDextre on Space Station

And to see more, here’s a video of Dextre “in action”. It features an animation of the space station with robot, and music that sounds like Stephen Hawking got drunk and went to a techno karaoke bar. Enjoy!

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