Humanoid robots in space: the next frontier

Humanoid robots

According to NASA Dexterous Robotics Team Leader Shaun Azimi, dangerous jobs like cleaning solar panels might be performed by humanoid robots in space.

NASA’s humanoid robot Valkyrie is a massive machine, standing 6 feet 2 inches (188 centimeters) tall and weighing 300 pounds (136 kg).

According to NASA, Valkyrie, which is being tested at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, is named after a female figure from Norse mythology and is intended to function in “degraded or damaged human-engineered environments,” such as regions affected by natural disasters.

A humanoid robot has a head, torso, two arms, and two legs, much like a real person. Engineers predict that in the future, humanoid robots will be able to use human tools and equipment and perform in a manner akin to humans with the correct software.

Humanoid robots in space may be able to perform dangerous jobs like cleaning solar panels or examining broken equipment outside the spacecraft, freeing up astronauts to focus on exploration and discovery, according to NASA Dexterous Robotics Team Leader Shaun Azimi.

“Our goal is not to supplant human crews; rather, we aim to relieve them of the tedious, unclean, and hazardous tasks so they can concentrate on these elevated endeavors,” stated Azimi.

NASA is collaborating with robotics firms such as Apptronik, located in Austin, Texas, to find out how humanoid robots created for Earth applications could help with future humanoid robots going into space.

Apollo is a humanoid robot being developed by Apptronik. Its earthly duties will include transporting parcels, stacking pallets, and performing other supply chain-related jobs at warehouses and manufacturing facilities. Early in 2025, the company hopes to begin supplying humanoid robots to businesses.


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