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First rocket commanded by Russian humanoid robot fails to dock at International Space Station

Andy Gregory
Fedor robot before being loaded into Soyuz capsule to be launched into space from Kazakhastan: Roscosmos Space Agency Press Service photo via AP

The first Russian spacecraft to be commanded by a humanoid robot failed to dock at the International Space Station (ISS), Russian news agencies reported.

The Fedor (final experimental demonstration object research) robot was on board a Soyuz spacecraft on a planned two-week mission to support the ISS crew and test its skills.

The rocket was due to arrive in the early hours of Saturday morning, but was forced to abort due to a failure with the automatic docking system, Interfax cited Nasa TV as saying.

The spacecraft is currently 96 metres away from the station and officials plan to attempt docking again on Monday morning, RIA reported, citing Russia‘s flight control centre.

The Skybot F-850 is the first humanoid robot sent to space by Russia and is the first robot to take a human pilot’s place in a Soyuz spacecraft.

Fedor is the size of a human adult and can emulate movements of the human body.

The robot could be heard during the launch saying “let’s go, let’s go”, echoing the famous words of Yuri Gagarin when he became the first man to enter space.

In 2017, Russia’s deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin shared videos of Fedor shooting guns at a firing range with deadly accuracy and was forced to clarify the android wasn “not a Terminator”.

Nasa sent humanoid Robonaut 2 to space in 2011 to work in hazardous environments.

The ISS is a joint project of the space agencies of the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada.

Additional reporting by Reuters