In the 1960s, the United States began shooting men into space to better understand the unknown. Today, those astronauts have space robot companions to join them on their travels, even taking over for human astronauts in deep space travels.
One of the most interesting of these new space robots is the Robonaut, a joint venture between NASA and DARPA. This humanoid space robotic system is engineered to work like a human astronaut in a space suit – with the same dexterity, flexibility and task capabilities, according to an article from learnaboutrobots.com. This robotic space “man” has five fingers and over 150 sensors to send back data. Not to mention, it looks pretty spiffy in its space suit that protects it from dramatic temperature shifts.
There are some robots that will never be on manned space missions though. These space robotic systems will boldly go where no robot has gone before. Well, okay, they will sometimes go where other robots have gone before. For example, the Sojourner, a six-wheeled space robot, will end up much like other robots that have explored the surface of Mars, sending back pictures and data about the planet’s surface.
There are even articulated robots in space that look somewhat like the industrial robots in use on Earth today. These robots, like the Canadarm space robot arm, has flown on every space shuttle flight in the last 20 years, the article stated. It is used to release new satellites and retrieve bad ones. However this robotic space arm can also be used to knock ice off different parts of the space shuttle, along with other tasks that work toward the safety and conductivity of the mission.
Though their sister robots are circling us in the heavens, make no mistake, industrial robots have plenty of uses right here on the ground as well. From welding to material handling to material removal, these robots are working in factories around the globe to provide humans with the products and technology that they so dearly love today.
RobotWorx, a certified integrator of robotic arms from FANUC, Motoman, ABB, Universal Robots, and KUKA, has several models available to fit your facility’s needs. Granted, they may not be launched into space anytime soon, but these robots can launch your production line into a new level of productivity and ease.