Outer Space Robots
robot pictured on International Space Station robonaut 2
In the International Space Station's Destiny laboratory, Robonaut 2
pictured, during a round of testing for the first humanoid robot in
space. Ground teams put Robonaut through its paces as they remotely
commanded it to operate valves on a task board.
Robonaut is a test bed for exploring new robotic capabilities in
space, and its form and dexterity allow it to use the same tools and
control panels as its human counterparts do aboard the space
The International Space Station (ISS) is a unique spacecraft in
low-Earth orbit. It is the largest and longest inhabited object ever
to orbit the Earth. There has been uninterrupted human presence on
the space station since 2000. The ISS is an amazing feat of
technology that allows humans to explore, live in, and perform
science in space. Onboard the ISS, crew members live and work in a
reduced gravity environment. This environment allows crew members to
conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy
and meteorology that could not be done on Earth. It also offers a
rare opportunity for the testing of the spacecraft systems that will
be required for missions to Mars and the Moon.
ISS is approximately the size of an American football field
(including the end zones) and has the interior volume of one and one
half Boeing 747 jetliners. As of June 2011, the ISS consists of 15
pressurized modules for research and crew living quarters and an
extensive integrated truss structure that provides power to the
space station from the sun. It is an incredibly complex spacecraft
made from science and technology.
The ISS was built with international partners, including five space
agencies representing 15 nations. It shines as a peaceful,
cooperative effort towards understanding space exploration. The
results of the research completed on the ISS enable us to improve
life on this planet. It also gives the international community the
experience and understanding needed to journey to other worlds.
The International Space Station is a laboratory, observatory and
factory in space. In recent years it has also become a place for
commercial, diplomatic and educational use. The future for the space
station is still evolving. While science research will continue,
there are many other possibilities for the space station technology.
The ISS could be a staging site for future missions to the Moon,
Mars and asteroids. It could also be used as a transportation
vehicle or a place to repair satellites and other vehicles.
The ISS operates as an amazing laboratory orbiting the Earth. The
make up of the space station includes many systems working together.
There are core systems and secondary systems that make it possible
for crew members to live and work successfully in space. These
systems are monitored by the flight controllers in the Mission
Photo Credit: NASA