Japan Sends Robo-Astronaut to Space Station
Launch is 'one giant leap for robots'
By Polly Davis Doig, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2013 5:40 AM CDT
In this June 26, 2013, humanoid communication robot Kirobo is shownin Tokyo. The first talking humanoid robot “astronaut” has taken off in a rocket.   (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)

(Newser) – Japan may have been nowhere near putting the first man into orbit or on the moon, but today it sent the first robot "astronaut" to the International Space Station. Tucked among some 5 tons of supplies headed to the ISS is a 13-inch-tall talking humanoid robot named Kirobo, reports the AP, which is designed to function and talk in zero gravity and meant as a companion for Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, who is set to arrive at the ISS in November. Today's launch from southwestern Japan is "one small step for me, a giant leap for robots," Kirobo told the press corps.

The pint-sized 'bot, which will also communicate with another robot on Earth, is a joint venture between the University of Toyko, Dentsu, and Toyota. "I wish for this robot to function as a mediator between person and machine, or person and Internet, and sometimes even between people," says Kirobo's designer. Video of the successful launch is here.

View 2 more images
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Talking Robot Headed for Space Station is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 24 comments
Aug 10, 2013 10:41 PM CDT
He gets up there and winds up screwing something up. So they load him in the robot arm and fling him into the solar system upon saying, "Good riddance Jinx."
Aug 5, 2013 8:04 AM CDT
The best part is, he can transform into an espresso maker.
Aug 5, 2013 7:38 AM CDT
Is this the modern day Chucky?