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Russia begins research into space robot technology for ISS

November 11, 2016, 18:19 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The robot will be able to move along the module’s outside railings, carry cargoes and perform a variety of operations
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© Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

MOSCOW, November 11. /TASS/. Three Russian space research and production centers have pooled efforts with the aim to devise a space robot for doing a wide variety of operations outside the International Space Station and, in in the longer term, on the surface of the Moon and in deep space.

The research and engineering centers commissioned to deliver a space robot of the future are Energia corporation, the central research institute of robotics and technical cybernetics (TsNII RTC), and research and industrial association NPO Androidnaya Tekhnika.

"This is not just another in a series of projects. It is part of an ideology crucial to developing robotics technologies for space research purposes. I believe that in the long term there will emerge robots capable of exploring the surface of the Moon and extra-terrestrial space," the Energia corporation’s press-service quotes its CEO Vladimir Solntsev as saying.

The robotics system, to be created under the R&D project codenamed Cosmorobot, will incorporate the mobile robot, control panels, integration means and the ground segment. Its test operation on board the research and energy module of the Russian segment of the ISS is scheduled for 2020-2024.

The robot will be able to move along the module’s outside railings, carry cargoes and perform a variety of operations, such as to install and dismantle equipment, connect electric cables and scan the module’s outer surface with its video cameras. Also it will be able to cut vacuum-insulated panels for the station’s modules, provide light, assemble and disassemble screw joints, take smears from surfaces for testing and so on. The robot will assist ISS crews during space walks.

As it was reported earlier, the space rocket corporation Energia - the manufacturer of space vehicles - would build a robot under a contract with Roscosmos to assist astronauts in their extra-vehicular activities. The project’s value was estimated at 2.4 billion rubles ($36 million).

The launch of the research and energy module of Russia’s segment of the ISS is due in 2019.

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