Shuttle to Launch Giant Robot Into Space

It's 12 feet tall, and its name is Dextre
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2008 2:05 PM CDT
Pierre Jean, acting program manager, Canadian Space Station Program addresses the media during the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Dextre Briefing at Kennedy Space Center March 9, 2008 in Cape Canaveral,...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – When the shuttle Endeavour launches at 2:28am tomorrow, it will carry what has been pure sci-fi until now: a giant space robot. After astronauts assemble it, Canada’s Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, known as “Dextre,” will roam the outside of the International Space Station completing repairs considered too dangerous for spacewalkers, the Houston Chronicle reports.

"When you see it on the side of the space station, it will look like this giant hood ornament, " says one astronaut. The $209 million, 12-foot-tall robot looks a little like Gigantor, with arms stretching 11 feet. “It’s intimidating,” said another astronaut, but “I would not go so far as to say we are worried it will run amok.” Dextre doesn’t think for itself; astronauts will guide it from within the station.