India’s Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will send a humanoid robot astronaut into this space this year, then send it back alongside actual humans in 2025 on its long-delayed Gaganyaan orbital mission.
According to the space agency, the robot-crewed Vyommitra Mission is scheduled for the third quarter of this year.
The robot – whose name translates to “Space Friend” in Sanskrit – can monitor module parameters, issue alerts and execute life support operations. Vyommitra is also an excellent multitasker that can operate six panels while responding to queries and mimicking human functions. The humanoid speaks two languages: Hindi and English.
It’s also been designated as female – to the extent possible for a legless robot – and sports coiffed hair, feminine facial features, and hands that look like they are wearing white gloves. It resembles a wax figurine or mannequin and The Register fancies it mostly manages to stay out of the Uncanny Valley – the term applied to robots and digital depictions of humans that try to appear human but instead come off as creepy and/or unsettling.
Appearance aside, Vyommitra is a badass science-bot that will perform microgravity experiments in the uncrewed mission, then offer monitoring and general support to astronauts when ISRO does finally launch its Gaganyaan mission.
“It will simulate the exact human functions in space; it will check whether the systems are right. This will be very useful to simulate, as if a human is flying,” commented then ISRO chief K Sivan when the humanoid was announced back in 2020.
The crewed, domestically engineered…