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Russia Unveils Android for Space Missions

RIA Novosti

13:12 06/03/2012

MOSCOW, March 6 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has built a space android to work in orbit, its first space robot in more than two decades, Izvestia daily said on Tuesday.

The robot, S-400, can perform simple tasks such as screwing bolts and searching the spacecraft for damage.

It will be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) within two years' time, and will also be joining future missions to the Moon and Mars, the paper said.

Cosmonaut Sergei Avdeyev said S-400's trip to the ISS will be a "test" before "more interesting tasks."

Oleg Saprykin, a senior official at Russia's space agency Roscosmos, said S-400 was the country's "first step towards a robot cosmonaut."

"Manipulators were designed for [the Soviet space shuttle] Buran and the Mir space station, but they did not get into space in the end," Saprykin told Izvestia.

Andrei Nosov, an engineer at the firm which made S-400, said the robot would be able to send tactile sensations to an operator down on Earth.

"The operator can virtually touch the surface… It is indescribable," Nosov said.

The United States has already launched an android, Robonaut, to the ISS.

Japan and Germany are also planning to send androids in space.

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