Feeds

Space robot goes operational at ISS

Canadian droid puts astro-vet out of work

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Dextre, the mighty tonne-and-a-half space robot intended for repair and servicing tasks at the International Space Station (ISS), is now fully operational, according to reports. The 12-foot-tall mechanical maintenance man, a product of cutting-edge Canadian space robotics tech, has been fully assembled and is ready for work.

Dextre at work attached to the ISS Canadarm2

What Canada is renowned for.

The assembly was led by spacesuited extra-vehicular activity expert (and fully-qualified veterinarian) Dr Richard Linnehan, assisted by space-rookie Robert Behnken. Linnehan reportedly described the view during the operation of mighty Mother Earth in all her glory, rolling majestically beneath the gleaming white spaceships against the infinite starry void, as "pretty awesome".

Now that Dextre is up and running, Linnehan may have to return to being a vet. It seems that the Canadian droid will pretty much eliminate the need for spacewalking astronauts, as it can carry out almost any task a human can. Typical jobs, according to NASA, might include changing batteries or other parts in modules and "payloads" attached to the space station. The mechanoid is apparently designed for "high precision and a gentle touch", though it can also heave the likes of two-hundred-pound power units about with ease.

Dextre will normally move about the exterior of the station on the end of the enormous articulated "Canadarm2" gantry, also a Canadian product. If necessary the machine can "ride independently" on its mobile base system. NASA says that Canada was the natural choice to provide all this machinery, as America's northern neighbour is "renowned for its expertise in space robotics".

Dextre, Canadarm2 and the Mobile Base can all be operated by groundside controllers, thus freeing up space station astronauts to carry out other tasks inside. The main purpose of the ISS was to carry out human space operations, so it does seem curious in some ways that in fact - even when there are astronauts right there to hand - it still turns out to be safer and more efficient to use robots controlled from Earth. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.