A source in the Russian space and rocketry industry has told Sputnik that a team of two FEDOR (Russian acronym Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research) robots may be sent to the International Space Station on an unmanned Soyuz spacecraft next August.
"We are considering using a Soyuz unmanned spacecraft to carry out a test flight of the FEDOR robot system next year," the source said.
"Furthermore, flights of either a lone robot or two robots at once are being considered," the source added.
According to the industry source, the flight of the FEDORs is seen as an opportunity to test them before they are sent into space aboard Russia's new Federatsiya (Federation) spacecraft, which is currently being developed and is expected to come online in the early 2020s. The humanoid robots will pilot the ships, but won't be confined to their storage compartments, either, and will serve passengers and assist human pilots by providing a variety of information on the flight based on pre-programmed algorithms.
Earlier, Sputnik reported that FEDOR is expected to take part in all three test flights of the Federatsiya, including an orbital test in 2022, an ISS docking test in automatic pilot mode in 2023, and with cosmonauts on board in 2024.
The FEDOR project is the brainchild of Android Technology, a Russian robotics concern, and the Foundation for Advanced Studies. The project began in 2014 as an anthropomorphic robot-rescuer for the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations. The project's prospective use has since been expanded, and the robot is seen as a means to replace human beings in high-risk situations. To date, FEDOR has been taught to shoot guns, drive a car, work with a drill, traverse stairs and overcome various obstacles. It can also be operated remotely by an operator wearing a special suit, effectively becoming an avatar. In the future, developers expect their creation to be used in outer space, presumably for repair work on space stations.