Skybot F-850 is an android astronaut, a fully-automated machine designed by the Russian space agency for life on board the International Space Station (ISS).
Engineers spent five years developing and preparing Skybot for the challenge of going into space. The six foot android is built from sturdy materials to survive the blast into zero-gravity, and is specially programmed to stop it from inadvertently damaging the space centre.
In summer 2019, the mechanized cosmonaut spent two weeks working on board the ISS as a “social companion” to the human crew. During its time in orbit, Skybot was able to converse with its fellow astronauts, answering their queries and keeping them amused with the odd joke. The android was even able to fly itself to the space station, taking command of a Soyuz spacecraft and monitoring its conditions as they entered zero-gravity.
As Alexander Bloshenko, executive director of the Russian space agency, told reporters: “Future generations of such robots will solve tasks that are potentially of special risk for humans, such as extravehicular activities and telemetry operations on solar system bodies.”