ATLANTA – As Russia prepares to bring an experimental humanoid robot to the International Space Station later this month, a similar NASA robot is being prepared to return to the station for repairs on Earth. Jonathan Rogers, assistant project manager for Robonaut at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, said in a presentation on August 1 at the ISS Research and Development Conference that the robot is expected to ship a Cygnus or Dragon cargo at the end of the yearStation is flew back space vehicle. We’re on our way back to the ISS operations, “he said, with final checks on the running robot. A special mission on which Robonaut will fly was not selected, he said, noting that the robot is “prioritizing” when other cargo is destined for the station. Robonaut 2, as the robot is officially called, flew to the station in 2011 on one of the last shuttle missions. The robot performed a series of tests to demonstrate how a robot can work with astronauts on the station. However, Robonaut 2 had problems in 2014 shortly after astronauts added a pair of legs to the robot’s hull. Our processor stops responding during a software upgrade, “Rogers said. Restarting the robot temporarily resolved the issue, but continued to occur. “At some point, we came to the point where these processors would not boot at all.” NASA initially attempted to repair the robot in orbit, with several astronauts performing repairs, such as replacing suspect components with spare parts on the station. This work returned the problem to a faulty 24 volt power cable. While the project was considering sending a spare cable to the station, ISS management “made the decision to bring Robonaut home and allow us to properly repair it.” Robonaut was sent home with the cargo spacecraft SpaceX CRS-14 Dragon and reached the Johnson Space Center in May 2018. In the lab, the engineers found that the cause of the problem was a lack of power back for the robot’s computer case. Instead, Current used a “sneak circuit” that overheated a plug in Robonaut’s backpack. These orbital troubleshooting sessions gave us a good start for a quick confirmation once we got them home, “he said.It would have been very difficult to fix this in orbit. This mistake existed since Robonaut 2 was first developed, he added, but did not manifest itself until legs were added to the robot. “It was not there until we asked more about the power grid.” The engineers redesigned Robotnaut’s electrical system, identifying three more potential monitoring circuits that could have caused problems for the robot. They also made other upgrades to the hardware and software of the robot. As soon as Robonaut returns to the station, the engineers have planned an extensive cash register, which will be attended by both astronauts and Russian cosmonauts. “We have discussed this as a joint Russian research activity,” Rogers said, because Russian officials were interestedparticipation in the project. After this test, Rogers said NASA would continue to experiment with Robonaut. “We believe that Robonaut offers a unique platform for advancing technology,” he said. “We have already made large investments in this robot. We have the hardware, we have the control system. An interesting area is how robots like Robonaut can be deployed on the Moon Gate, where astronauts will be aboard for only a short while. In a test scheduled for the end of next year on the ISS, Robonaut will work with Astrobee, another robot on the station, to locate and retrieve certain cargo pockets. Among other things, we learn how we can influence the gateway design to improve the functionality of robots, “he said. However, Robonaut will not be the first humanoid robot to visit the ISS this year. Russian state space company Roscosmos is finally preparing to launch the Soyuz spacecraft MS-14 on August 21st to confirm the ability to deploy the upgraded Soyuz 2.1a rocket for future Soyuz missions. While the Soyuz MS-14 will not carry people, it will have a Russian-built humanoid robot called Skybot F-850 or FEDOR on board. Roscosmos even created a Twitter account for the robot in preparation for launching FEDOR, publishing first-person updates on its launch preparations. This included a tweet dated August 2 that referred to Robonaut, “NASA colleagues are preparing a partner for me,” she said, including a picture of Robonaut 2 from his earlier time on the station. “I would like to meet him.” Such a meeting seems unlikely.FEDOR is expected to return to Earth with the Soyuz spacecraft MS-14 when it leaves the station in early September.

Source@SpaceNews.com